PHNO HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS WEEK
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VELOSO BIDS FINAL FAREWELL; LAST MINUTE CLEMENCY PLEA REJECTED


VELOSO ON THEIR MIND President Aquino asks Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo to spare the life of Filipino Mary Jane Veloso after the plenary session of the 26th Asean summit in Kuala Lumpur. AP
 - Led by the hand through a scrum of reporters to the Indonesian island prison of Nusakambangan, the 6-year-old boy looked confused and frightened as he made one of his final visits to his mother before her execution.
During the visit, Filipino maid Mary Jane Veloso gently explained to 6-year-old Mark Darren and her second son, 12-year-old Mark Daniel, that she would not be coming home. “She tried to explain again,” Agence France-Presse quoted Veloso’s elder sister Marites Veloso-Laurente as saying during an interview in Cilacap, the port town that is the gateway to the island. “If Mama does not come home, just think Mama is in heaven.”  She could go as early as Tuesday, with an Indonesian district court rejecting on Monday a second appeal of her death sentence for drug trafficking. Charles Jose, spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), said the Sleman District Court denied Veloso’s second appeal in accordance with the Indonesian Supreme Court’s rule that “only one appeal is allowed.” He said the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta had confirmed the rejection of the appeal that the Philippine government had brought on Veloso’s behalf. Veloso’s Indonesian lawyer, Agus Salim, also confirmed that the appeal had been rejected. He said the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta had confirmed the rejection of the appeal that the Philippine government had brought on Veloso’s behalf. Veloso’s Indonesian lawyer, Agus Salim, also confirmed that the appeal had been rejected. Rejection confirmed  Indonesian President Joko Widodo rejected the last-minute appeal of President Benigno Aquino III to spare the life of Filipino worker Mary Jane Veloso. Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Widodo relayed to the Philippine government that there is "no basis" to stop Veloso's death sentence by a firing squad. Aquino met with Widodo on the sidelines of the 26th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leaders’ Summit in Kuala Lumpur on Monday to seek clemency for Veloso, who was convicted on drug offenses.READ MORE...

ALSO Veloso to 6-year-old son: ‘Just think Mama is in heaven’


Family members of Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipino woman on death row for drug offenses, from left to right, father, Cesar, mother Celia, sons Mark Daniel and Mark Darren and sister Marites, walk upon arrival at Wijayapura ferry port to to cross to the prison island of Nusakambangan, in Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia, Saturday, April 25, 2015. AP
CILACAP, Indonesia — Led by the hand through a scrum of reporters to an Indonesian prison island, the six-year-old Filipino looked confused and frightened as he made one of his final visits to his mother before her execution. During the visit to Nusakambangan Island, Filipina maid Mary Jane Veloso gently explained to six-year-old Mark Darren and her second son, 12-year-old Mark Danielle, that she would not be coming home. “She tried to explain again,” Veloso’s elder sister Marites Veloso-Laurente told AFP during an interview in Cilacap, the port town that is the gateway to the island. “If Mama does not go home, just think Mama is in heaven.” As the clock ticks down on the execution by firing squad of eight foreign drug convicts, heartbroken relatives who have fought for years to save their loved ones are rushing to say final farewells. The convicts, who also include nationals from Australia, Brazil and Nigeria, all recently lost clemency appeals to President Joko Widodo. They could be put to death as soon as Tuesday after they received official notification of their executions at the weekend. Veloso’s two sons travelled with their family — some of whom had never flown — from an impoverished community north of Manila to hear a message almost impossible for them to take in. READ MORE...

ALSO: How Indonesia carries out executions


Photo from Jawa Poss National Network 
Under Law No. 2/1964 on execution procedures, a prosecutor is tasked with leading an execution. The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) has allocated around Rp 200 million (US$15,500) for the cost of executing each person. Execution procedures 1. Death-row convicts are to be moved to a prison or an isolation cell of a prosecutor’s choosing where he or she will be informed of their execution three days beforehand. At this time, the prosecutor should accept any messages or thoughts the convict would like to convey.  2. The execution must not be made public and should be done as simple as possible unless the president orders otherwise. The convict’s lawyer can attend the execution on request.  3. The provincial police will form a firing squad made up of 12 enlisted officers (Tamtama) and one non-commissioned officer (Bintara) who will be led by a high-ranking officer. The prosecutor will have full authority over the firing squad until the execution is complete. 4. The convict, dressed simply, will be escorted by the police to the designated location of the execution. The convict may also request religious counsel to accompany him or her.  5. Once at the destination, an officer will blindfold the convict unless he or she requests otherwise. The convict may choose to stand, sit or kneel. The convict may also have their hands and feet tied if the prosecutor deems it necessary. READ MORE FROM 6 TO 10 AND MORE......

ALSO: Mary Jane Veloso's recruiter surrenders


The recruiters of overseas worker Mary Jane Veloso, scheduled to be executed by firing squad in Indonesia on Tuesday, April 28,2015, face criminal charges for having framed her. One of the recruiters yielded to authorities on Tuesday.
The alleged recruiter of Mary Jane Veloso, who is on the death row in Indonesia, surrendered to authorities Tuesday in Nueva Ecija. Maria Cristina Sergio surfaced at the Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Office Tuesday morning, hours before Veloso is scheduled to be executed by firing squad in Indonesia. In an interview with dzMM Sergio said she surrendered as she fears for her life after receiving death threats. She maintained, however, that she was not responsible for deceiving Veloso but she is willing to undergo investigation. Veloso was found guilty by an Indonesian court in 2010 for smuggling illegal drugs. The 30-year-old worker insisted she was a victim of a drug syndicate. READ MORE...

ALSO: Mary Jane's wish: Don't risk Philippines-Indonesia ties ["They (Indonesia) served as my family in the past five years behind bars"]


Family members of Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipino woman on death row, arrive at Wijayapura ferry port to cross to the prison island of Nusakambangan, in Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia, Monday, April 27, 2015. AP/Tatan Syuflana
 Mary Jane Veloso who is set to be executed by firing squad late Tuesday, uttered some poignant last words for her homeland The Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Jose said Veloso conveyed again her thanks to President Benigno Aquino III and to Secretary Albert del Rosario. Veloso earlier spent the final moments with her family at a Mass and over lunch. Officials said she bade farewell in tears. Veloso also reminded her loved ones and countrymen that there are many good Indonesians and the ones she was with have been kind to her. "'Wag na 'wag gagawa ng ikasisira ng relasyon ng Pilipinas at Indonesia", Veloso said, as quoted by Jose. They served as her family in the past five years behind bars, Jose said, quoting Veloso.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: Veloso's wishes granted during final hours


Protesters light candles as they continue their vigil for a second day to plead the Indonesian Government to stop the execution of convicted Filipino drug trafficker Mary Jane Veloso, outside the Indonesian Embassy in the financial district of Makati city east of Manila, Philippines, Monday, April 27, 2015. Veloso was convicted for drug trafficking in Indonesia and is sentenced to be executed "within 72 hours" after her appeal was rejected by the Indonesian Supreme Court March 26. AP/Bullit Marquez 
MANILA, Philippines — Convicted Filipino worker Mary Jane Veloso reminded her family not to cry during her supposed final hours on Tuesday. Veloso, who was sentenced to death for being caught with illegal drugs in her bag, is currently awaiting execution by firing squad in Indonesia. The last visit of the Veloso family to Mary Jane became emotional as they discussed the arrangement of her remains after her execution. "Emosyonal po kaming lahat kanina pero nakikiusap si Mary Jane na 'wag umiyak," Marites Veloso, sister of Mary Jane, said in an interview with radio dzBB. READ MORE...

ALSO: Screaming for mercy’ Midnight execution set, Australia warns of consequences
[Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Monday the executions should be halted until a corruption investigation into judges who presided over the case is complete, but Widodo dismissed the request. Bishop Tuesday criticized Indonesia’s “chaotic” handling of the execution arrangements, saying there would be “consequences” if they went ahead.]


Milagrosa Fiesta waits for news on the fate of her granddaughter, Mary Jane Veloso, at their house in Barangay Caudillo, Cabanatuan City yesterday. Ernie Peñaredondo
MANILA, Philippines - A smidgen of hope welled up in the hearts of relatives of Mary Jane Veloso after Indonesia’s president called his Cabinet for a meeting but until last night, the Indonesian government continued preparing for a midnight execution. According to a report from GMA News Online, Indonesian President Joko Widodo called a meeting with his officials yesterday afternoon to discuss the case of Veloso after the recruiter who allegedly tricked her into carrying drugs to Indonesia appeared before the Philippine National Police. Widodo called the meeting just a few hours before Veloso’s scheduled execution. Emerging from the meeting late last night, Indonesian Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo was quoted by the Jakarta Post as saying, “I have already set the date and even the hour” of the execution, but refused to give details. In a live interview over radio dzBB, Mary Jane’s sister Marites said Widodo called for the meeting at 2:30 p.m. following reports that her alleged recruiter, Cristina Sergio, is now under the custody of the Nueva Ecija Police Provincial Office. “We will be informed if the execution will push through because we will go to the island to wait for Mary Jane’s body,” Marites said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Veloso execution stopped
[Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso of the Philippines was spared after a woman who allegedly recruited her to act as a drug courier gave herself up to police in the Philippines on Tuesday.]


EMBRACING HER FATE WITH OPEN ARMS Condemned to death, Filipino Mary Jane Veloso still manages to smile and shine in a colorful and floral Indonesian dress at Yogyakarta prison on Kartini Day on April 21, incredibly only seven days before her scheduled execution, to honor Indonesia’s national hero and woman’s rights activist Raden Kartini. AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
JAKARTA, Indonesia–Defying intense pressure from the international community, the government executed eight death row prisoners early on Wednesday on Nusakambangan prison island near Cilacap in Central Java. “We’ve carried out the executions,” said an Attorney General’s Office (AGO) official, talking to the press on condition of anonymity. The eight were Indonesian Zainal Abidin, Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, Brazilian Rodrigo Gularte, Nigerians Sylvester Obiekwe Nwolise, Raheem Agbaje Salami and Okwudili Oyatanze, Ghanaian Martin Anderson. Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso of the Philippines was spared after a woman who allegedly recruited her to act as a drug courier gave herself up to police in the Philippines on Tuesday. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed on Wednesday before dawn that Mary Jane Veloso has received a temporary reprieve from the Indonesian government minutes before her scheduled execution. “We are relieved that the execution of Mary Jane has not been carried out tonight. The Lord has answered our prayers,” Charles Jose, spokesman for the DFA told reporters at a stakeout at the department’s headquarters in Manila. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Veloso bids final farewell; Last-minute clemency plea rejected


VELOSO ON THEIR MIND President Aquino asks Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo to spare the life of Filipino Mary Jane Veloso after the plenary session of the 26th Asean summit in Kuala Lumpur. AP

MANILA, APRIL 28, 2015 (INQUIRER) Christine O. Avendaño, Nikko Dizon - Led by the hand through a scrum of reporters to the Indonesian island prison of Nusakambangan, the 6-year-old boy looked confused and frightened as he made one of his final visits to his mother before her execution.

During the visit, Filipino maid Mary Jane Veloso gently explained to 6-year-old Mark Darren and her second son, 12-year-old Mark Daniel, that she would not be coming home.

“She tried to explain again,” Agence France-Presse quoted Veloso’s elder sister Marites Veloso-Laurente as saying during an interview in Cilacap, the port town that is the gateway to the island. “If Mama does not come home, just think Mama is in heaven.”

She could go as early as Tuesday, with an Indonesian district court rejecting on Monday a second appeal of her death sentence for drug trafficking.

Charles Jose, spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), said the Sleman District Court denied Veloso’s second appeal in accordance with the Indonesian Supreme Court’s rule that “only one appeal is allowed.” He said the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta had confirmed the rejection of the appeal that the Philippine government had brought on Veloso’s behalf.

Veloso’s Indonesian lawyer, Agus Salim, also confirmed that the appeal had been rejected.

Rejection confirmed

Indonesian President Joko Widodo rejected the last-minute appeal of President Benigno Aquino III to spare the life of Filipino worker Mary Jane Veloso.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Widodo relayed to the Philippine government that there is "no basis" to stop Veloso's death sentence by a firing squad.

Aquino met with Widodo on the sidelines of the 26th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leaders’ Summit in Kuala Lumpur on Monday to seek clemency for Veloso, who was convicted on drug offenses.

READ MORE
Salim said the appeal presented a new finding obtained from an investigation by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

“Results of the investigation reveal that Mary Jane is not a courier in the international drug trade. This finding has been confirmed by the National Narcotics Agency,” Salim said.

“It seems that the judicial panel did not want to include the [new finding] in their considerations,” he said.

But the DFA, Jose said, remained hopeful that Veloso’s execution could still be stayed, with President Aquino appealing to Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to spare her life.

Aquino and Widodo met for five minutes Monday morning on the sidelines of the 26th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit and discussed Veloso’s case.

President Aquino did not get a concrete response from Widodo, who said he would have to consult the Indonesian attorney general.

Widodo promised to continue the discussion in the afternoon, before the summit moved from Kuala Lumpur to the resort island of Langkawi.

On the plane to Langkawi, the President sent word through Communications Undersecretary Renato Marfil that he was still waiting for Widodo’s response to his request.

It appeared that Widodo had decided not to join the other Asean leaders in Langkawi, an hour’s flight from Kuala Lumpur.

President Aquino and his entourage arrived on the island at 5:26 p.m.

As of press time, there was no word if the President and Widodo had talked again.

Reached by phone, Marfil told the Inquirer that the “resumption of conversation” that Widodo promised Aquino did not mean meeting face-to-face again.

But the Philippine government continued to wait for word from Indonesia, Marfil said.

After 8 p.m., however, Reuters reported the Indonesian attorney general as saying that Veloso would still face execution after the last-ditch appeal from President Aquino.

Jose, however, said Monday night the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta had no confirmation that the attorney general said there was no clemency for Veloso.

Earlier on Monday, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Aquino appealed to Widodo “for humanitarian consideration.”

He said Aquino told Widodo that Veloso, a 30-year-old single mother of two, was “apparently duped into being an unwitting carrier of illegal drugs.”

Coloma said Widodo was “sympathetic and was consulting with the Indonesian attorney general on the legal issues.”

‘So long as there’s life’

Asked if there was hope Veloso could be spared, Coloma said: “So long as there is life, there is hope.”

The Inquirer learned that the two leaders discussed extensively Veloso’s case during Widodo’s visit to Manila in February. As early as that time, Widodo and the Indonesian Supreme Court refused clemency appeals for Veloso.

Veloso, held along with nine other death convicts from Australia, Brazil, France, Nigeria and Indonesia on Nusakambangan, was given notice of her execution by the attorney general’s office last Saturday. It set her execution by firing squad Tuesday.

Veloso was convicted of trafficking heroin into Indonesia in October 2010, but she has said her only crime was to fall victim to international drug gangs which are now threatening to kill her family if they speak out.

Her case has drawn huge attention in both Indonesia and the Philippines, with supporters calling for clemency at regular rallies in Jakarta and Manila.

Pacquiao’s appeal

Even world boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao pleaded on Monday for her life to be spared, taking time out from preparations for his fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

“I am begging and knocking at your kind heart that your excellency grant executive clemency to her by sparing her life and saving her from execution,” Pacquiao, who is also a congressman, said in a video call to a local television network from his Los Angeles training camp.

“On May 2nd, I will be fighting in Las Vegas, Nevada, against Floyd Mayweather, which is considered the fight of the century. It will be a great morale booster, if in my own little way, I can save a life,” a solemn-looking Pacquiao said.

Pacquiao’s statement came just hours after Veloso’s 55-year-old mother, Celia, made a desperate and tearful appeal for the boxing champion to help her daughter.

“Manny, please help save my daughter. Please speak up. Any word from you will help greatly because you are very popular in Indonesia,” Celia Veloso said in a radio interview.

Last visit

As Veloso’s family wept and prepared to cross to Nusakambangan on Monday for what could be the last time, supporters in both Manila and Jakarta turned out waving “Save Mary Jane” banners and urging them to keep their spirits up.

In front of the Indonesian Embassy in Makati City, protesters from the militant group Kilusang Mayo Uno called on the nation to step up efforts to save Veloso.

“We encourage everyone to wear white and to light candles in their homes or offices,” said KMU campaign manager Jerome Adonis.

He urged Filipinos to unite and speak up on social media sites and appeal to the Indonesian government to spare Veloso’s life.

Malacañang also appealed to the nation to pray that Widodo would have a “change of heart” and stay the execution of Veloso.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda urged Filipinos to pray that Widodo would “look with mercy” on Veloso and “commute the decision.”

At the DFA, Jose said another sister of Veloso, Darlene, left for Indonesia on Monday with government help to join the rest of the family on Nusakambangan.

The family has been visiting Veloso since Saturday.

But the show of support from the Indonesian and Filipino public could do little for Celia Veloso. Her calls for Widodo to spare her youngest child were growing increasingly desperate.

“She says, ‘My daughter is innocent . . . it’s not easy to lose someone like her,’” Fr. Harold Toleadano, a Filipino priest based in Indonesia and assisting the family, said in an interview with AFP.

11th-hour miracle

The mother is hoping for an 11th-hour miracle, and Veloso’s sister Marites is appealing directly to Widodo to spare her sister.

“I would like to convey to you it’s only God who has the right to take away the life of anyone,” she said in a message to Widodo.

Marites is particularly fearful for Veloso’s young sons, who played happily with toy cars at their hotel, oblivious to the family’s mounting desperation and officials swirling around them.

But she knows Mark Daniel will always keep a watchful eye over his younger brother, recounting a pledge he had made to his mother in recent days.

“He promised his mother that he would take care of his younger brother and they will study hard,” she said.–With reports from Jerry E. Esplanada, Maricar B. Brizuela, wires and The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network


INQUIRER

Veloso to 6-year-old son: ‘Just think Mama is in heaven’ Agence France-Presse 5:36 PM | Monday, April 27th, 2015


Family members of Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipino woman on death row for drug offenses, from left to right, father, Cesar, mother Celia, sons Mark Daniel and Mark Darren and sister Marites, walk upon arrival at Wijayapura ferry port to to cross to the prison island of Nusakambangan, in Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia, Saturday, April 25, 2015. AP

CILACAP, Indonesia — Led by the hand through a scrum of reporters to an Indonesian prison island, the six-year-old Filipino looked confused and frightened as he made one of his final visits to his mother before her execution.

During the visit to Nusakambangan Island, Filipina maid Mary Jane Veloso gently explained to six-year-old Mark Darren and her second son, 12-year-old Mark Danielle, that she would not be coming home.

“She tried to explain again,” Veloso’s elder sister Marites Veloso-Laurente told AFP during an interview in Cilacap, the port town that is the gateway to the island.

“If Mama does not go home, just think Mama is in heaven.”

As the clock ticks down on the execution by firing squad of eight foreign drug convicts, heartbroken relatives who have fought for years to save their loved ones are rushing to say final farewells.

The convicts, who also include nationals from Australia, Brazil and Nigeria, all recently lost clemency appeals to President Joko Widodo. They could be put to death as soon as Tuesday after they received official notification of their executions at the weekend.

Veloso’s two sons travelled with their family — some of whom had never flown — from an impoverished community north of Manila to hear a message almost impossible for them to take in.

READ MORE...
Veloso, 30, was convicted of trafficking heroin into Indonesia in 2009, but says her only crime was to fall victim to international drug gangs who are now threatening to kill her family if they speak out.

Her case has drawn huge attention in the Philippines, with supporters calling for clemency at regular rallies in Manila. Even world boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao pleaded Monday for her life to spared, taking time out from preparations for his fight against Floyd Mayweather.

Clinging to hope

Two other high-profile inmates are the Australians, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, ringleaders of the so-called “Bali Nine” heroin-trafficking gang. Numerous family members and embassy officials have been rushing to visit them since notice of execution was given.

On Monday one of the lawyers, Todung Mulya Lubis, returned from the prison where they are being held carrying a self-portrait by Sukumaran, an accomplished artist, entitled “The second last day.”

Veloso’s family are clinging to hope her execution will be delayed so they can pursue an application for a second judicial review of her case — but with formal notice now served, such efforts are looking increasingly futile.

While the execution of drug traffickers has broad support in Indonesia, there has been some sympathy for Veloso, as many Indonesian domestic workers have also been executed while working abroad.

As her family wept and prepared to cross to Nusakambangan for what could be the last time on Monday, supporters turned out waving “Save Mary Jane” banners and urging them to keep their spirits up.

But the show of support could do little for Veloso’s mother Celia. Her calls for Widodo to spare her youngest child are growing increasingly desperate.

“She says ‘My daughter is innocent… it’s not easy to lose someone like her’,” Father Harold Toledano, a Filipino priest assisting the family, told AFP.

Veloso is hoping for an 11th hour miracle and Laurente is appealing directly to Widodo to spare her sister.

“I would like to convey to you it’s only God who has the right to take away the life of anyone,” she said in her message to the president.

Laurente is particularly fearful for Veloso’s young sons, who played happily with toy cars at their hotel, oblivious to the family’s mounting desperation and officials swirling around them.

But she knows Mark Danielle will always keep a watchful eye over his younger sibling, recounting a pledge he had made to his mother in recent days.

“He promised his mother that he will take care of his younger brother and they will study hard,” she said.


INQUIRER

How Indonesia carries out executions The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network 3:06 PM | Monday, April 27th, 2015


Photo from Jawa Poss National Network

Under Law No. 2/1964 on execution procedures, a prosecutor is tasked with leading an execution. The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) has allocated around Rp 200 million (US$15,500) for the cost of executing each person.

Execution procedures

1. Death-row convicts are to be moved to a prison or an isolation cell of a prosecutor’s choosing where he or she will be informed of their execution three days beforehand. At this time, the prosecutor should accept any messages or thoughts the convict would like to convey.

2. The execution must not be made public and should be done as simple as possible unless the president orders otherwise. The convict’s lawyer can attend the execution on request.

3. The provincial police will form a firing squad made up of 12 enlisted officers (Tamtama) and one non-commissioned officer (Bintara) who will be led by a high-ranking officer. The prosecutor will have full authority over the firing squad until the execution is complete.

4. The convict, dressed simply, will be escorted by the police to the designated location of the execution. The convict may also request religious counsel to accompany him or her.

5. Once at the destination, an officer will blindfold the convict unless he or she requests otherwise. The convict may choose to stand, sit or kneel. The convict may also have their hands and feet tied if the prosecutor deems it necessary.

READ MORE....
6. Once the convict is deemed ready, the firing squad will be called upon with their firearms where they will position themselves no less than 5 meters and no more than 10 meters from the convict.

7. The prosecutor will then order the execution to start, to which the firing squad’s commander will lift up his sword to signal the squad to focus their firearms on the convict’s heart and then put down the sword to order the shooting to start.

8. If the convict still shows signs of life, the police commander will order the non-commissioned officer to take the final shot at the convict’s head, near the ear. A doctor will then confirm whether the convict has died.

9. The convict’s family or close friends are responsible for the convict’s burial unless the prosecutor says otherwise. If the convict cannot be buried by their family or friends then the government will organize a burial based on the convict’s religious beliefs.

10. The prosecutor must write up and sign a report on the execution that will be inserted in the official court ruling letter.

About the executioners

Fourteen personnel from the police’s Mobile Brigade (Brimob) are assigned to an execution, but only 12 are tasked with shooting while the two others are placed on standby.

Of the 12 executioners, only one is equipped with a live bullet while the others have empty ones. None of the 12 executioners know who receives the live bullet.

The reason for the use of only one live bullet is to avoid the inmate’s chest being heavily damaged and causing more pain, according to the police.

Police officers in their early 20s are usually selected to carry out the task as they are considered to be physically and mentally fitter than their seniors.

The officers selected for the firing squad are given extra training to sharpen their shooting skills.


PHILSTAR

Mary Jane Veloso's recruiter surrenders By Rosette Adel (philstar.com) | Updated April 28, 2015 - 1:53pm


The recruiters of overseas worker Mary Jane Veloso, scheduled to be executed by firing squad in Indonesia on Tuesday, April 28,2015, face criminal charges for having framed her. One of the recruiters yielded to authorities on Tuesday.

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) — The alleged recruiter of Mary Jane Veloso, who is on the death row in Indonesia, surrendered to authorities Tuesday in Nueva Ecija.

Maria Cristina Sergio surfaced at the Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Office Tuesday morning, hours before Veloso is scheduled to be executed by firing squad in Indonesia.

In an interview with dzMM Sergio said she surrendered as she fears for her life after receiving death threats. She maintained, however, that she was not responsible for deceiving Veloso but she is willing to undergo investigation.

Veloso was found guilty by an Indonesian court in 2010 for smuggling illegal drugs. The 30-year-old worker insisted she was a victim of a drug syndicate.

READ MORE...
The surrender of Sergio, who also goes by the name Mary Christine Gulles Pasadilla, came as the Department of Justice (DOJ) started its preliminary investigation on criminal charges against her and two other individuals.

The National Bureau of Investigation-Anti Human Trafficking Division (NBI-AHRAD) complaint against Sergio and two other unnamed individuals were assigned to state prosecutor Susan Azarcon.

NBI-AHTRAD's probe alleged that Veloso is a victim of deception and human trafficking.

Sergio and the other suspects face complaints of illegal recruitment, swindling and human trafficking before the DOJ under the recommendation of NBI.


PHILSTAR

Mary Jane's wish: Don't risk Philippines-Indonesia ties By Rosette Adel (philstar.com) | Updated April 28, 2015 - 6:22pm


Family members of Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipino woman on death row, arrive at Wijayapura ferry port to cross to the prison island of Nusakambangan, in Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia, Monday, April 27, 2015. AP/Tatan Syuflana

MANILA, Philippines — Mary Jane Veloso who is set to be executed by firing squad late Tuesday, uttered some poignant last words for her homeland

The Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Jose said Veloso conveyed again her thanks to President Benigno Aquino III and to Secretary Albert del Rosario.

Veloso earlier spent the final moments with her family at a Mass and over lunch. Officials said she bade farewell in tears.

Veloso also reminded her loved ones and countrymen that there are many good Indonesians and the ones she was with have been kind to her.

"'Wag na 'wag gagawa ng ikasisira ng relasyon ng Pilipinas at Indonesia", Veloso said, as quoted by Jose.

They served as her family in the past five years behind bars, Jose said, quoting Veloso.


PHILSTAR

Veloso's wishes granted during final hours By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated April 28, 2015 - 5:58pm


Protesters light candles as they continue their vigil for a second day to plead the Indonesian Government to stop the execution of convicted Filipino drug trafficker Mary Jane Veloso, outside the Indonesian Embassy in the financial district of Makati city east of Manila, Philippines, Monday, April 27, 2015. Veloso was convicted for drug trafficking in Indonesia and is sentenced to be executed "within 72 hours" after her appeal was rejected by the Indonesian Supreme Court March 26. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — Convicted Filipino worker Mary Jane Veloso reminded her family not to cry during her supposed final hours on Tuesday.

Veloso, who was sentenced to death for being caught with illegal drugs in her bag, is currently awaiting execution by firing squad in Indonesia.

The last visit of the Veloso family to Mary Jane became emotional as they discussed the arrangement of her remains after her execution.

"Emosyonal po kaming lahat kanina pero nakikiusap si Mary Jane na 'wag umiyak," Marites Veloso, sister of Mary Jane, said in an interview with radio dzBB.

READ MORE...
Marites bared that her final conversation with Mary Jane was about details of her funeral such as her coffin and dress.

One of Mary Jane's final request was granted as they sang her favorite Jubilee song after praying with her family.

The request of Mary Jane to eat durian was initially rejected due to her health condition but she insisted that she would not die by eating the fruit, Marites said.

"Sabi sa kanya may cholesterol siya baka may mangyari sa kanya pag may kumain siya ng durian," Marites recalled.

The prison guards discussed Mary Jane's request to eat the fruit first before finally allowing her to take it.

"Alam ko balang araw magkikita tayo at magsasama-sama sa langit," Mary Jane told her family.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, there is no set time for the execution of Mary Jane yet.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, meanwhile, called for a meeting at around 2:30 p.m. to discuss Mary Jane's case after learning about the surrender of her recruiter, Marites said.

The Veloso family is yet to be informed whether Mary Jane's execution will push through or not.


PHILSTAR

Screaming for mercy’ Midnight execution set, Australia warns of consequences (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 29, 2015 - 12:00am


Milagrosa Fiesta waits for news on the fate of her granddaughter, Mary Jane Veloso, at their house in Barangay Caudillo, Cabanatuan City yesterday. Ernie Peñaredondo

MANILA, Philippines - A smidgen of hope welled up in the hearts of relatives of Mary Jane Veloso after Indonesia’s president called his Cabinet for a meeting but until last night, the Indonesian government continued preparing for a midnight execution.

According to a report from GMA News Online, Indonesian President Joko Widodo called a meeting with his officials yesterday afternoon to discuss the case of Veloso after the recruiter who allegedly tricked her into carrying drugs to Indonesia appeared before the Philippine National Police.

Widodo called the meeting just a few hours before Veloso’s scheduled execution.

Emerging from the meeting late last night, Indonesian Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo was quoted by the Jakarta Post as saying, “I have already set the date and even the hour” of the execution, but refused to give details.

In a live interview over radio dzBB, Mary Jane’s sister Marites said Widodo called for the meeting at 2:30 p.m. following reports that her alleged recruiter, Cristina Sergio, is now under the custody of the Nueva Ecija Police Provincial Office.

“We will be informed if the execution will push through because we will go to the island to wait for Mary Jane’s body,” Marites said.

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Indonesia made final preparations yesterday to execute eight foreigners by firing squad, as weeping family members paid last visits to their loved ones and ambulances carrying white coffins arrived at the prison.

The family of Veloso, who was convicted of trying to smuggle heroin into Indonesia but claims she was duped by international drug syndicates, also arrived in Cilacap en route to Nusakambangan to pay a final visit, racing past waiting reporters in a van.

As they got out of the vehicle, Filipino priest Harold Toledano gave them each a blessing before they headed to the island. Among the group were Veloso’s two sons, aged six and 12.

Relatives of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, the Australian ringleaders of the so-called “Bali Nine” heroin trafficking group, arrived at Nusakambangan prison appealing for mercy for their loved ones, with Sukumaran’s sister collapsing in grief.

They are among nine prisoners – including four Nigerian men, a Brazilian man, one Indonesian man and Veloso – facing imminent execution.

Earlier Tuesday, the families of Chan and Sukumaran, who have been visiting them frequently in recent days, were unable to control their emotions as they arrived at Cilacap, the town that serves as the gateway to Nusakambangan.

As they were mobbed by a huge scrum of journalists, members of Sukumaran’s family screamed and cried out “Mercy!” as they walked in slow procession. His sister Brintha collapsed into the arms of family members.

Chan, who like Sukumaran is in his 30s, married his Indonesian girlfriend in a jailhouse ceremony with family and friends on Nusakambangan on Monday, his final wish.

When the families returned from Nusakambangan, Brintha broke down at a press conference, telling reporters: “Please Mr. President Joko Widodo, I’m begging you, please – please don’t take my brother from me!”

Andrew Chan’s brother Michael added: “To walk out of there, and say goodbye for the last time, it’s torture.”

Authorities in Indonesia have refused to disclose exactly when the executions will take place, but Sukumaran’s mother Raji tearfully told reporters that her son would be put to death at midnight Tuesday.

“I am asking the government not to kill him. Call off the execution. Please don’t take my son,” she said.

Jakarta has said all the convicts will be executed at the same time. The executions were widely expected early Wednesday after inmates were given formal notice on Saturday, after which authorities must wait a minimum of 72 hours.

Executions are traditionally carried out just after midnight in Indonesia by a 12-man firing squad, with the condemned prisoner led to a clearing and tied to a post.

Widodo, who believes Indonesia is facing an emergency due to rising drug use, has signaled his determination to push on with the executions despite mounting international condemnation led by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Attorney General Prasetyo repeated the government’s tough stance on Tuesday, telling reporters: “This is not a pleasant job, but it has to be done... to save this nation from drugs.”

Australia: There will be consequences

Australia has mounted a vigorous campaign to save its citizens, who have been on death row for almost a decade.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Monday the executions should be halted until a corruption investigation into judges who presided over the case is complete, but Widodo dismissed the request.

Bishop Tuesday criticized Indonesia’s “chaotic” handling of the execution arrangements, saying there would be “consequences” if they went ahead.

“I think the ghastly process that the family have been put through today just underscores how chaotic this has been,” she told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

“They do deserve respect and they do deserve to have dignity shown to them at this time of unspeakable grief. But that doesn’t seem to have been extended to them at this time.”

In Sydney late Tuesday about 300 supporters of the Australian pair held vigil, with several people holding signs calling for the Indonesian president to show mercy.

Veloso’s case has attracted huge attention in the Philippines, and President Aquino urged Widodo on the sidelines of a summit to grant her clemency, but Prasetyo insisted Tuesday that the execution would proceed.

Initially saddened by the decision of the Indonesian government to push through with the execution of Veloso, Aquino disclosed that he decided not to give up and made another appeal yesterday morning by suggesting that the Filipina be used as witness to curb the drug problem in both countries as well as illegal recruitment.

Aquino told reporters who covered the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders’ summit in Kuala Lumpur that he spoke with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi over the phone and relayed a request to get Veloso’s affidavit to boost efforts to capture members of drug syndicates and illegal recruiters.

He said Veloso could get a reprieve if Indonesian authorities decide to explore this “angle” that would be beneficial to all of them.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has set the preliminary investigation on the criminal charges filed against the alleged recruiters of Veloso.

Marsudi was with Widodo in Kuala Lumpur for the ASEAN summit but Widodo left for Indonesia on Monday while the foreign minister continued with the rest of the meetings.

It was in Kuala Lumpur on Monday morning where Aquino and Widodo met briefly upon the Philippine leader’s request so he could personally plead for a reprieve for Veloso.

On Monday night, Aquino was told by Widodo through Marsudi that the judicial recourse for Veloso had been denied and Indonesia would have to follow its laws.

Aquino admitted Indonesian officials asked why these pieces of information were only coming out now and he explained Veloso intially did not want to talk but was “now very cooperative.”

According to Aquino, Veloso only filed a complaint against her illegal recruiters a few days ago and that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said they could have her testimony “perpetuated” and reduced to an affidavit so it could be used to go after the illegal recruiters.

The President said he was made to understand that there was a concept called “dying person’s declaration” that could be “very, very strong testimonial evidence.”

“The basis I think is when you’re about to meet your Maker you will not lie,” Aquino said.

“It was very difficult to get her to testify against all of these people previously. So now that she filed a complaint, that means she’s willing to talk (about) everything she knows, she’s the primary witness,” he pointed out.

Aquino said Indonesia’s interest was the illegal drugs issue and “so if this person can help uncover this drug syndicate, and it is of value to them, we can help extend her life at the very least – that’s the hope.

“We have an opportunity in our case to get the necessary evidence to successfully prosecute the illegal recruiters,” Aquino said, but “absent the complainant who normally will become a principal witness, it is very difficult to prosecute people who violate our laws.”

He said this was the opportunity they were presenting to Indonesia so they could start the process of bringing criminals to justice.

“Of course, when I was talking to the foreign minister, they were asking the lateness of this suggestion, and I tried to explain as best as possible that all of these things have come to our knowledge only in the last few days, and some of these new avenues happened just (yesterday), especially the idea of ‘isn’t it better to get the drug syndicate itself rather than the person who was used as a mule?’” the President said.

On Monday night, the Indonesian government decided to push through with the execution of Veloso, saying its attorney general found no basis to reconsider the sentence.

But Aquino said he could not just keep quiet and withhold the information and suggestions they were getting even if time was running out.

“Saan kami nagkulang (Where did we fall short)?” he asked when asked if there would be blood on his hands if Veloso was executed. Philippine officials have been explaining that efforts to help Veloso have been going on since she was arrested in April 2010, including appeals to former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Veloso was arrested at the Yogyakarta Airport and was sentenced to death for possession of 2.6 kilograms of heroin found in her luggage.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Widodo instructed his foreign minister on Monday night to convey the final view of the Indonesian attorney general that the execution would need to be enforced.

Widodo promised to get back to Aquino after they talked at the holding room of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center as he had to consider legal issues regarding Veloso’s case.

Coloma said the information on Veloso was relayed by Marsudi to Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and upon instructions of the President, heightened efforts for Veloso were carried out.

“The President was saddened upon learning of the feedback from Jakarta on this (Monday) morning’s meeting. He has instructed the Philippine ambassador in Indonesia (Maria Rosario Aguinaldo) to communicate with Mary Jane and find out what may be done to address her concerns for her family,” he said.

The President said he wrote letters to Widodo twice and told him about Veloso during his state visit to Manila in February of this year and in their meeting again in Kuala Lumpur.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday both approaches, legal and diplomatic, have been closed when the second appeal for judicial review of Veloso’s case was rejected on Monday by the Sleman District Court and President Aquino’s appeal to President Widodo was denied.

“Execution appears to be imminent,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said in a press briefing.

The Philippine government, he said, exhausted all legal remedies and diplomatic track to save Veloso.

According to Jose, the Philippine embassy in Jakarta informed him that they were already asked by the Indonesian side who will be present during the execution “so that is an indication that the execution will be carried out.”

The DFA said no time was set for the execution but Veloso’s two sisters, Consul General Robert Manalo and her lawyer would be present during the execution on the island.

Fr. Bernard Kieser, Veloso’s spiritual adviser, will administer last rites.

Legal aid for OFWs

Senators called on the DFA to exert more effort to provide legal assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in distress to ensure that everything is done to save them from execution.

Sen. Cynthia Villar said the case of Veloso should serve as a signal for authorities to come to the aid of Filipinos facing death sentences abroad.

“The case of Mary Jane is not new, we have heard of these stories before, of illegal recruiters taking advantage of our people in the provinces who are in dire need of a job. Many Filipinos on death row abroad are in similar situation,” Villar said in a statement.

“Innocent or not, Filipinos in foreign jails deserve the assistance of our government,” she added.

Villar also noted that during last year’s deliberation on the DFA budget, the Senate increased the legal assistance fund for migrant workers from P30 million to P100 million.

The fund, under the amended Migrant Workers Act of 1995, was created to provide legal services to migrant workers and overseas Filipinos in distress.

The assistance fund is used to pay for the fees for foreign lawyers, bail bonds, court fees and charges and other litigation expenses.

“There were reports that Veloso was not provided a lawyer and that she did not even have access to a translator while she was being interrogated by Indonesian authorities. It is important that our countrymen are given the necessary assistance to be able to defend themselves and secure a fair trial,” Sen. Nancy Binay said.

Sen. Francis Escudero said that the DFA and its representatives abroad should learn to give priority to providing assistance to the Filipinos in their respective areas of jurisdiction.

Lawyer Harry Roque said the Philippines could have appealed the case of Veloso to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Roque yesterday released a draft copy of a petition, which he said he gave to Vice President Jejomar Binay to get the concurrence of President Aquino.

More than 9,000 Filipinos and foreigners have signed a letter supporting Veloso.

The human rights groups Karapatan said the letter addressed to Widodo noted that Veloso was fooled into carrying the luggage that contained the illegal drugs. – With Aurea Calica, Pia Lee-Brago, Christina Mendez, Janvic Mateo, Marvin Sy, Phodina Villanueva, Robertzon Ramirez, AFP, Reuters


INQUIRER

Veloso execution stopped Nestor Corrales, Niña Calleja | INQUIRER.net Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:43 AM | Wednesday, April 29th, 2015


EMBRACING HER FATE WITH OPEN ARMS Condemned to death, Filipino Mary Jane Veloso still manages to smile and shine in a colorful and floral Indonesian dress at Yogyakarta prison on Kartini Day on April 21, incredibly only seven days before her scheduled execution, to honor Indonesia’s national hero and woman’s rights activist Raden Kartini. AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

JAKARTA, Indonesia–Defying intense pressure from the international community, the government executed eight death row prisoners early on Wednesday on Nusakambangan prison island near Cilacap in Central Java.

“We’ve carried out the executions,” said an Attorney General’s Office (AGO) official, talking to the press on condition of anonymity.

The eight were Indonesian Zainal Abidin, Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, Brazilian Rodrigo Gularte, Nigerians Sylvester Obiekwe Nwolise, Raheem Agbaje Salami and Okwudili Oyatanze, Ghanaian Martin Anderson.

Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso of the Philippines was spared after a woman who allegedly recruited her to act as a drug courier gave herself up to police in the Philippines on Tuesday.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed on Wednesday before dawn that Mary Jane Veloso has received a temporary reprieve from the Indonesian government minutes before her scheduled execution.

“We are relieved that the execution of Mary Jane has not been carried out tonight. The Lord has answered our prayers,” Charles Jose, spokesman for the DFA told reporters at a stakeout at the department’s headquarters in Manila.

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Jose went down from the DFA building where he, along with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and other officials were seemingly on a vigil to monitor developments in Veloso’s supposed execution.

Jose refused to answer questions and was expected to issue further statements on the case.

Minerva Lopez of the National Union of People’s Lawyers also said Veloso’s private lawyer Edre Olalia had confirmed from Indonesia that Veloso’s execution was stopped by Indonesian authorities.

“Attorney Edre Olalia said that the implementation of the sentence as regards Mary Jane Veloso was suspended until the proceedings in the Philippines against the alleged recruiter Christina Sergio shall have been commenced and concluded,” Lopez said during the vigil for Veloso outside the Indonesian Embassy in Makati City.

Hundreds of people outside the Indonesian Embassy in Makati rejoiced early Wednesday as they received the information about Veloso’s stay of execution.

In Indonesia, AGO spokesman Tony Spontana said the government had agreed to the final requests fielded by two Australian death-row convicts for their bodies to be flown to Australia for burial.

A Cilacap Police officer said that after the executions, prayers were said for each person according to their respective religion. “The executions went well, without any disruptions,” he said.

The AGO stated that the executions had been carried out after it had heard all eight convicts’ final requests.

The execution was the second round after the first was carried out on Jan. 18, during which six inmates from Indonesia, the Netherlands, Brazil, Nigeria, Vietnam and Malawi were killed by firing squad.–With Jakarta Post/ANN/ren

Originally posted: 1:43 AM | Wednesday, April 29th, 2015


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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