It won’t be much of a Mother’s day for Mary Jane, Celia and PH

Candle-lighting Action posted by Coalition Against Trafficking In Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP) member in Indonesia, Rifka Anissa -- Translation: "1000-Candle Action Save Mary Jane Veloso! Abolish the Death Penalty!"

Candle-lighting Action posted by Coalition Against Trafficking In Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP) member in Indonesia, Rifka Anissa —
“1000-Candle Action
Save Mary Jane Veloso!
Abolish the Death Penalty!”

There was an outpour of sympathy from Indonesians and Filipinos for Mary Jane Veloso, days before she had to face her death sentence by firing squad in Indonesia. Mary Jane is a Filipina MOTHER who has been declaring her innocence over a conviction for drug trafficking since Day 1 of her 5-year ordeal. The hashtags: ‪#‎SaveMaryJane‬ and ‪#‎MaryJaneLIVES‬ went a-trending and reached fever-pitch on social media on the eve of her scheduled execution, but no sooner than a day’s interval, many Filipino netizens went 360 on their support and demanded blood with comments and posts, ballistic with #BitayinNaYan and #FiringSquadforCeliaVeloso.  The words INGRATA and UNGRATEFUL stringed with the hashtags were the harsh replies to the pain of Celia Veloso, the MOTHER of Mary Jane, who went vocal on the truth that she has kept to herself  and their family since 2010.

For a nation that is steeped in religion, the quick and vile pronouncements against these two mothers are  disturbingly unbecoming. It is devoid of compassion and distended with hubris! A hubris, which the ancient Greeks defined well, as the intentional use of violence to humiliate or degrade.

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Where is the arrogance stemming from? Can it be attributed to the absence of the double-edged Filipino cultural trait of utang na loob (Debt of gratitude) and not in defense of a political color that is so rabidly and blindly supported?

Not known to many, Mary Jane could have evaded the death penalty in 2010 had the government unified its effort with Mary Jane’s Indonesian lawyers in the latter’s recommendation for a life sentence. The Veloso family relentlessly appealed for assistance from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) but was given the run around in 2010. They live in Nueva Ecija and despite their poverty, they religiously sought whatever help they can seek from the government yet they got none, not until the death penalty was gaveled by the Indonesian court. It was only on April 2015, that Filipino lawyers, provided NOT by government but by the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) represented her appeal. The swift volunteer efforts by the NUPL that were complemented by international NGOs strengthened her defense.

October, 2010 :
“Indonesian public prosecutor Sri Anggraeni presents in the Sleman district court the recommendation for life imprisonment as penalty for Mary Jane’s offense. Mary Jane is represented by court-appointed pro bono lawyer Edy Haryanto.” (“#SaveMary Jane TIMELINE OF EVENTS: Let the facts speak for themselves, and “Timeline: The case of Mary Jane Veloso”,

March 3, 2015 :
“The Sleman District Court held the first hearing where the Defense informed the court of the reasons for the Application of Judicial Review relating to the lapses in the proceedings at the trial court in 2010: 1) the problem in translations, 2)the qualifications of the court-appointed translator, and 3) the language barrier.” (#SaveMary Jane TIMELINE OF EVENTS: Let the facts speak for themselves, on May 1, 2015 quoted: “Veloso’s Indonesian lawyers as saying, “If you came in earlier, we could have done more.”

Know that:
…the PH government only attended to this AFTER the judicial review had been rejected by the Indonesian Supreme Court on March 25, 2015. A BAND-AID SOLUTION to a problem that has become terminal. The case of Mary Jane was hushed for FIVE YEARS and only came to public attention on the month of her execution!

Yet many judged her and her mother.
Many fail to see Mary Jane as a mother whose only aim was to be an OFW just so, she can provide education and a decent living for her children. Her hopes was to extend the same to her parents for they are a poor “family in Nueva Ecija. They resorted to picking plastics and other recyclable materials because the pay from Mary Jane’s father as a seasonal worker in Hacienda Luisita was never enough. She is the youngest among 5 children. She only made it to first year high school, married early, and had two children.

The family is being victimized over and over.
Then, by the Lords of Hacienda Luisita and the evil of drug syndicates and now, BULLIED BY MY VERY OWN KABABAYANS who demanded for the death of  the TWO Veloso mothers. Apparently, our poor Motherland has no abundance of citizens who can genuinely empathize with the least of her children.

Truth is, Mary Jane’s case isn’t unique, appeals for support for trafficked Filipinos are usually downplayed by the government. My kababayans become nameless until they find a way to get noticed by NGOs and once their stories hit the news, they are tried and judged by the Court of Popular Opinion.

Thank you sis Jean Enriquez and Coalition Against Trafficking In Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP) for being so gracious for allowing me to publish my copy of your letter to DFA in 2010.

Thank you Jean Enriquez and Coalition Against Trafficking In Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP) for being so gracious for allowing me to publish my copy of your letter to DFA in 2010.

My country has many of those who would always see drug traffickers as willing participants in the drug trade without any consideration to the fact, that not all of them are willing participants in the drug trade but are simply, poor Filipinos who didn’t know any better.  Filipinos who for lack of proper employment that would provide a decent living for their loved ones, are left with no choice but to see each recruiter as an opportunity for a better life.

Before Mary Jane’s case in Indonesia and before China meted out the death penalty to Sally Villanueva and two other Fiipinos in 2011, a trafficked Filipina shared to me a chapter of her life when she was made into a DRUG MULE.

Just like Mary Jane, the young Filipina was promised a decent job in Malaysia by an illegal “recruiter” but unlike Mary Jane, this lady was brought to China where she was prostituted together with other Filipinas. The lady has an innate intelligence, and the pimps saw the potential. They took her out of prostitution and was made to transport drugs. Unlike the many other Filipinos who get caught and are jailed, the pimps ensured that detection would be hard. Our kababayan was made to swallow the drugs in plastic capsules and the turn over was made through bowel movement.

Her account also included that when her trips required stop overs, she forced herself to pass the capsuled drugs by defecating at airport toilets and willed herself to swallow it again shortly prior to boarding. All that was her idea just to survive each run in countries where drug trafficking merits a death penalty. She was eventually caught by the Malayasian authorities not because of drug trafficking but because of an expired passport. It was during her time in jail, that she was able to inform a relative of her predicament via email.

Through the efforts of Coalition Against Trafficking In Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP), this lady was found and rescued from the Malaysian jail. She was also given pro bono legal assistance for the case that she filed versus her recruiter. This lady is a college graduate who used to work at a call center. It was unfathomable for me, as to how she got duped by an illegal recruiter. If she can be as easily conned, what more of the likes of Mary Jane, who are less educated, who have no awareness of a dog eat dog world and with a need to provide not just for her own?

Will there be an end to it? Maybe when Filipinos come to terms with the truth:

BizNews Asia’s cover trending cover

In 2014, I wrote:
thanks to the lack of opportunities in our country, our educated do not earn what should be rightfully ours yet those who work around our dysfunctional system are living high. Add the many local employees who face “endo” just so, companies can save on their OPEX. Ah the disparity of the rich and poor widens yet tolerant aren’t we, of the abuse of the politicians we elected into office and the companies we patronize rabidly.We sleep consoling ourselves with the delusion of being a Proud Filipino yet the truth can never be consoled with lies. It haunts until we awaken and grasp it…(From Insulted much? Talaga lang huh,!)

This I wrote in a 2015 article:
…Poverty, migration and a disability, that is beyond the physiological, are all rooted in the inability of the Philippines to address the widening gap of the rich and poor.

The aperture is wide but many are too deluded to realize the irony that is in the Philippines, being home to 3 out of the 10 biggest shopping malls on earth catering to hyper-consumerism (  Philippines has shoppers high rolling on sprees, apathetic to the many who have no access to basic needs.

The only Catholic nation in Asia has become a nation of Contractuals, and for what purpose? To reduce the cost of the long-term benefits due of a regular employee, at the detriment of a population that is highly dependent on regular employment.

The hardest hit of the demography are those who have anemic educational background, and such is common to the poor who cannot afford matriculation or send their families to the Ivy League schools.

The poor who have been made ignorant by the dumbing entertainment and have been diminished as nothing but numbers for every political agenda. facts from the World Bank may also give the rude awakening that goes with spiritual healing:“…the country’s Gini coefficient, a measure of inequality, stands at 0.43…The World Bank said the Gini coefficient of inequality varies between 0, which reflects complete equality and 1, which indicates complete inequality.

The World Bank said the high economic growth that the Philippines posted was not able to benefit the poor…” (From The Call of Pope Francis turned to cash)

A BOOMING. ECONOMY says the Philippine president with the signature Yellow pin. He even posed a rhetorical question to his “Bosses” about  “pag-unlad” under his term.  Unfortunately, your Excellency in the glass tower,  the boom that your administration has been proudly claiming as its own, doesn’t trickle down to those who most need it and those who need it the mostest, are the mothers like Mary Jane who are more than willing to care for children and a household that are not their own just so they can provide for the ones they had to leave behind. Mothers like Mary Jane who are left with no option but to believe anyone who can open such an opportunity, even if it is nothing but a lie.


21 Replies to “It won’t be much of a Mother’s day for Mary Jane, Celia and PH”

  1. Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.

  2. There are no good paying jobs, in the Philippines. No opportunities for growth. If you have a college degree; Jobs in the Call Center are the Panaceas of your disappointments. Aquino simply have no programs for job creation.

    I am one of those people who became an OFW. I want to stay; but the job offered to me is not even enough to take care of my basic needs.

    Aquino and his Oligarch cahoots are profiting enormously on OFW money remittances. This is the reason they make life difficult for people; so that they will become OFW, or worse Drug Mules…

  3. This is a very eloquent and damning review of the way this administration handles things and of their rabid supporters. i’ve seen the social media posts of people wanting the Veloso mothers hanged and i was aghast at what i saw. By this time, i’d have to say that most of the popular support for this administration is gone and all that is left is “rabid support” since only rabid supporters would react this way to an obviously valid criticism and with this level of violence. Unthinking and narrow minded people such as these should definitely forfeit their right to sufferage.

    1. Those people who rage against Veloso and her mom are actually fooled and hoodwinked. Their minds have been played by simply associating Veloso with the reds or seeing her as a mendicant. But that connection hasn’t been proven. It’s another demonstration of one root of the problem, namely the lack of discernment of the middle class.

    2. Thank you, dick s o rosary. All that’s happening is painful. This is the time that we should be collective force, what with the external threats looming but politics is dividing us. The deterioration of spirituality and the delusion that our nation’s salvation can only be through a Messianic leader saddens me. The power is with the people and through the people yet our people are being conditioned like docile cows to be butchered according to the whim of the powerful.

  4. i know it is not good to wish harm to come to other people but in this case i will make an exception…sana ung mga taong nagalit sa mga veloso mahuli rin na may dalang droga at makulong ng limang taon at hatulan ng bitay at ma reprieve sa huling sandali..ewan ko lang kung kayanin nila ang emotional roller coaster na pinag-daanan ng mga veloso

  5. Without all the knowing any facts about this case I cannot comment properly. That said here are my viewpoints:

    1.) Just because she’s a woman or a mother doesn’t mean she should be exempt from the law of the land she resides. I mention this because this country is still socially traditional( chivalry, gynocentric etc.)

    2.) Here’s a fix to children suffering poverty that should be common sense: IF YOU CANT PROVIDE FOR IT THEN BETTER NOT PROCREATE

    3.) CONSEQUENCES; how many more have faced the firing squad before her for doing the same crime and why should exempt from it, why is she special?

    4.) Just because this country doesn’t have the same belief in punishments(e.g. death sentence) doesn’t mean everyone else should have the same punishment system(beliefs).

    That said and if she truly is innocent of the crime like her claims then I wish er all the best.

    1. There’s no offense to be taken from your honest comments since you took Mary Jane’s case at face value. All that were mentioned are fair. Notable is #2 as it offers a sustainable solution to the PH problem.

      I assert though, that clemency isn’t what the defense had been asking for, though that would be nice, the recommendation and appeal has been a life sentence since pertinent details are lost in translation during the 2010 hearings. Her guilt cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

    2. @ NOT S, and if she is not NOT GUILTY ? Then what do you wish? do you see the hatred you harbor for someone you do not even know? you might be a better person if you wished her the best regardless of what she did.
      As far as drug laws go? They are most idiotic laws ever constructed by human beings. A means to stifle poor people in the West, hat the sense of the laws in Asia escapes me…but they are idiotic none-the-less.Regulation and taxation by the state is a much better idea since the drugs will be consumed anyway.

      1. If is she is PROVEN guilty then let their government deal with it how they usually do to all offender of same crime.

        Hate is a heavy word, you shouldn’t accuse everyone with opposing views of hate. I’m only trying to be fair, I dont know her and her case doesn’t affect me personally to allow emotions take over.

        As far as drug laws go, agreed. I think same ruling as alcohol might remove some of the bad things.
        Agree also with the last sentence.

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