Pinoy Weekly » OFW http://pinoyweekly.org/new Philippine news, analysis, and investigative stories Tue, 12 May 2015 22:16:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.1 How international solidarity helped save Mary Jane http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/05/how-international-solidarity-helped-save-mary-jane/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/05/how-international-solidarity-helped-save-mary-jane/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 20:52:51 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=34912 Veloso family shows the candle they lit during the time of expected execution of Mary Jane. Pher Pasion

Veloso family shows the candle they lit during the time of expected execution of Mary Jane. Pher Pasion

The prevailing story on the Indonesian government’s last-minute reprieve of Mary Jane Veloso was that President Aquino “breached protocol” to convince Indonesian Pres. Joko Widodo to turn Veloso into a “state witness” against a drug syndicate that victimized her and operates in many countries including the Philippines and Indonesia.

The Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Charles Jose, even said that the local and international protests did not have an effect on Widodo’s decision, and exclusively credited Aquino for the reprieve.

The narrative on the reprieve told by people’s organizations, including migrant and human rights organizations in the Philippines and Indonesia, as well as the Indonesian state body Komnas Perempuan (National Commission on Violence Against Women), however, challenges the Aquino government’s claims. It tells of an extensive, though decentralized, effort by many j bring to public attention, both in the Philippines and Indonesia, the case of Mary Jane Veloso and put pressure on the Philippine and Indonesian governments to grant the reprieve.

It tells a story about shared struggles and experiences. It tells about the power of international solidarity.

Mary Jane's sisters (from left) Darling and Maritess, who were both at the prison island of Nusa Kambangan during the evening of April 28. <b>KR Guda</b>

Mary Jane’s sisters (from left) Darling and Maritess, who were both at the prison island of Nusa Kambangan during the evening of April 28. KR Guda

Start of clamor

By all indications, the public clamor to stop the execution of Mary Jane Veloso started when representatives of Migrante International knocked on the doors of the Veloso family in Brgy. Caudillo, Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija on March 30.

(For a full accounting of the events of the case, from April 2010 to the stay of execution, read Migrante International’s timeline.)

Migrante International, by this time, started inquiring with fellow migrant rights advocates and organizations in Indonesia like Asosiasi Tenaga Kerja Indonesia (ATKI, Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers). On February 6, Migrante confirmed from the Indonesian groups that a certain Filipina named “Mary Jane” was indeed up for execution, pending a judicial review. The group then began seeking help from ATKI and other Indonesian groups.

On March 9, the group mentioned Mary Jane in its statement on the sudden execution of another overseas Filipino worker, Joven Esteva, in Saudi Arabia.In its statement, the group expressed sympathy with the family, and at the same time called on the DFA to swiftly act to prevent an impending execution of another OFW, this time Mary Jane, in Indonesia.

By then the judicial review was already in the Indonesian Supreme Court. On March 25, the Supreme Court rejected the judicial review petition, which was based on claims that Mary Jane did not have a competent translator during the 2010 trial, and that she did not know either Bahasa or English well enough to understand the proceedings.

The Veloso family had just about exhausted every means it knew to save Mary Jane. In her sworn statement signed April 15, Mary Jane’s mother Celia Veloso described her family’s continued efforts for DFA, as well as Philippine Drug Enforcement Authorty (PDEA), to help her daughter since 2010. In at least one instance, said Celia, DFA case officer Patricia Mocom even told her to keep away from media.

That there was no public knowledge or interest on Mary Jane’s case, both in the Philippines and Indonesia until the migrant groups stepped in was evident when Indonesian Pres. Joko Widodo officially visited the Philippines on February 9. One agenda in Widodo’s state visit was the signing of a joint declaration on the protection of migrant workers between the two countries. Despite this, however, the Aquino administration did not confirm or deny at that time if Mary Jane’s case was discussed in Aquino’s meeting with Widodo. In Philippine media reports, Malacanang even declined to mention Mary Jane’s name.

(The timeline prepared by the Department of Foreign Affairs [DFA], released just this May 4, claims that Aquino mentioned Mary Jane’s case to the visiting Indonesian president. But news reports, both in the Philippines and Indonesia, do not corroborate this. In fact, Aquino’s official statement during Widodo’s official state visit did not mention the case at all.)

After Migrante stepped in and met the Velosos on March 30 came a series of protest actions and activities to drumbeat public interest on Mary Jane’s case.

Vigil in front of the Indonesian embassy in Makati City, PH. Macky Macaspac

Vigil in front of the Indonesian embassy in Makati City, PH. Macky Macaspac

‘We can relate to her’

By the first week of April, Indonesian groups were already hard at work disseminating information on Mary Jane’s case. According to Connie Bragas-Regalado of Migrante International, before the Indonesian groups like ATKI stepped in, the Indonesian public hardly knew anything about Mary Jane. Those who knew about her case only knew her as one of those set to be executed for drug trafficking.

“Before, the Indonesian community did not really know about Mary Jane,” said Ini Iwenki of ATKI’s Indonesian chapter, in an interview with Pinoy Weekly. “Her name came out on March 2015, when the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) included her name as one of those who will be meted the death penalty. Then, all people knew was that she brough heroin to Indonesia.”

Widodo’s campaign against drug trafficking then was popular among the Indonesian public, said Eni Lestari, chairperson of International Migrants’ Alliance (IMA), and herself an Indonesian migrant worker in Hong Kong. “Since drug related issues is hot topic in Indonesia, everyone tried not to talk about it—although many opposed death penalty of the Indonesian government,” she said.

An Indonesian activist shows a placard with names of Indonesian migrant workers on death row. The Indonesians told President Widodo that his government would lose moral authority to appeal for the life of Indonesians on death row if its government carries on with Mary Jane's and the other convicts' execution. From the FB account of <b> Erwiana Sulistya Ningsih</b>

An Indonesian activist shows a placard with names of Indonesian migrant workers on death row. The Indonesians told President Widodo that his government would lose moral authority to appeal for the life of Indonesians on death row if its government carries on with Mary Jane’s and the other convicts’ execution. From the FB account of
Erwiana Sulistya Ningsih

Among the first to be approached by ATKI was Komnas Perempuan (National Commission on Violence Against Women, a state institution comparable in the Philippines to the government institution Philippine Commission on Women). Komnas Perempuan had been one of the most active institutions that advocated against the death penalty in Indonesia, as well as for the protection of Indonesian migrant workers abroad.

In an interview with Pinoy Weekly, Yuniyanti Chuzaifah, Komnas Perempuan vice-chairperson, said that they received a letter (apparently from ATKI) seeking support for Mary Jane’s case during the first week of April. “We discussed (among ourselves) the case and we sent a letter to President (Widodo) to delay the execution,” said Chuzaifah.

Not content with merely submitting a letter to Widodo, Komnas Perempuan decided to conduct a fact-finding mission on Mary Jane’s case. Chuzaifah, with her team, went to Yogjakarta to personally interview Mary Jane.

“During the first day, Mary Jane was emotional in telling her story and saying she was not guilty. The second day, we started to discuss with the lawyer, in detail, her story since the beginning. We tried to explore the trafficking dimension, as a woman, a mother, a member of a poor family, aa well as her married life – really detailed. We did a comprehensive report on her experience and story,” Chuzaifah said.

They then sent a second letter to Widodo. This time, the letter contained Komnas Perempuan’s fact-finding report.

On April 24, Komnas Perempuan, together with another state body, Komnas Ham (Komisi Nasional Hak Asasi Manusia, or National Commission on Human Rights—akin to the Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights) and two Indonesian representatives to Association of Southeast Asian Nations or Asean mechanisms (Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights or AICHR, and Asean Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children or ACWC) held a press conference in Jakarta. Its aim was to gather public support for the campaign to save Mary Jane’s life.

Chuzaifah said the presscon was also designed to reach President Widodo himself. “We sent formal letters, but we thought media was the faster messenger to the President,” she said.

By April 25, the day the 72-hour countdown until the execution of the nine death convicts (including Mary Jane) began, ATKI and the women’s and migrant groups, as well as other groups and concerned individuals, began holding a vigil in front of the Widodo’s presidential residence. They reportedly lit a thousand candles to dramatize what by then was already a popular clamor to save Mary Jane from the firing squad.

“They held a candlelighting right in front of the Presidential Palace. It was scary, because of the military in the streets. So of course, it was dispersed. A Migrante member even broke a finger during the dispersal,” said Migrante’s Connie Bragas-Regalado.

Philippine lawyer Edre Olalia talks with his colleagues from Rudyantho and Partners in Indonesia. Photo courtesy <b>NUPL</b>

Philippine lawyer Edre Olalia talks with his colleagues from Rudyantho and Partners in Indonesia. Photo courtesy NUPL

Gathering storm

At that time, Regalado was already with the Velosos, as well as lawyers of the National Union of People’s Lawyers. They were gathering further support from other Indonesian groups, including church-based organizations.

Regalado, together with Mary Jane’s sister Maritess, arrived in Jakarta on April 18. They immediately linked up with ATKI, and informally met Philippine embassy officials. In gathering support, Migrante even sought the help of the Jakarta chapter of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association, whose leaders said they were unaware (and uninformed by the Philippine embassy) of Mary Jane’s case. The UP alumni pledged support for the campaign.

Regalado said they also met with representatives of Komnas Perempuan on April 20.

When NUPL lawyers Edre Olalia and Minerva Lopez arrived in Jakarta on April 21, they already talked with Indonesian lawyers under Rudyantho and Partners (lawyers hired by the Philippine embassy and represented Mary Jane since the appeals stage). In this meeting, the Indonesian lawyers related to Olalia and Lopez that since 2011 they already asked the Philippine embassy to investigate a certain Maria Cristina Sergio who recruited Mary Jane and deceived her into using a luggage that contained a 2.6-kilo heroin.

“Rudyantho and Partners had already requested the Aquino government to investigate Sergio even before the filing of the first petition for judicial review. This would have been instrumental for the appeal,” said Migrante International, in a statement. “They (the Indonesian lawyers) were dismayed to learn that the Philippine government only attended to this after the judicial review had been rejected by the Indonesian Supreme Court on March 25.”

In other words, the Philippine embassy practically sat on Mary Jane’s case since 2010 and left it up to Indonesian lawyers since 2011—not even employing PDEA to pursue leads on Sergio in the Philippines. (In her affidavit, Celia Veloso said she contacted the National Bureau of Investigation as far back as 2010 and PDEA in 2011. She also detailed how the DFA kept on giving her the runaround everytime she followed up on the case.)

Meanwhile, the Indonesian groups led by ATKI were already launching a series of protest actions for Mary Jane. All the efforts at bringing the issue to the streets came to a head on April 26, after the announcement of a 72-hour countdown until execution was made. The vigil was attended by many organizations.

“At the time, we (already) got a good response from the public. It became a trending topic (in social media). It became an eye opener to the public on the issue of death penalty (in Indonesia),” said Komnas Perempuan’s Chuzaifah. She also claimed that before the campaign to save Mary Jane, about “70 percent of the public supported death penalty”. But because of the campaign, “it became about 30 percent”.

All these events were happening while Widodo was at the Asian-African Conference, and then at the Asean Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. But apparently, he was taking notice of the events in Jakarta.

Preliminary investigation ng Department of Justice sa pangunguna ni Assistant State Prosecutor Susan Azarcon sa kaso laban sa mga illegal recruiter di umano ni Mary Jane Veloso. Pher Pasion

Cristina Sergio (center, in orange). Pher Pasion

Pressure in KL

On April 20, leaders of Migrante International, the Philippine women’s alliance Gabriela, the human rights organization Karapatan, and other Philippine and regional groups, went to Kuala Lumpur for pre-forum activities of the Asean People’s Forum.

In a roundtable discussion attended by Indonesian organizations including Komnas Perempuan, Gabriela mentioned the case of Mary Jane. On April 21, at the talk show of the Asean Women’s Forum, Gabriela’s Joms Salvador and IMA’s Lestari also discussed the case, and began distributing paraphernalia on the campaign. It was attended by about 400 participants, including Indonesian NGOs.

On April 24, an Asean People’s Forum (APF) event that supposedly featured Pres. Bengino Aquino III was organized. With Aquino unable to attend the event, Social Welfare Sec. Dinky Soliman came to represent the Philippine President. By that time, many attendees had already come to know about Mary Jane’s case. Gabriela and IMA, among others, boycotted Soliman’s talk. Together with other groups like the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), among others, they instead picketted outside the venue to further publicize Mary Jane’s case.

Nakiisa rin sa laban ni Mary Jane ang mga delegado ng Asean People's Forum sa Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Kontribusyon

Delegates of Asean Women’s Forum, including members from APWLD, Gabriela, Karapatan and Migrante, step up efforts to help save Mary Jane in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during the pre-meetings of the Asean People’s Forum and Asean Summit. Contributed Photo

“We were appalled that the APF invited Aquino. So when Soliman was about to talk, we timed our picket so she can hear our protests, and at the same time Asian attendees can hear us talk about what has been happening in the Philippines (regarding Mary Jane’s case),” recounted Joan Salvador, Gabriela’s international relations officer, who was at the event.

On April 27, before Widodo left the Asean Summit for Jakarta, delegates of the Asean Youth Forum (whose delegates were also present in the pre-forum meetings) personally handed the Indonesian President a letter asking for stay of Mary Jane’s execution.

This was even before Aquino’s five-minute chat with Widodo in the morning. Aquino allegedly talked about the case. By the afternoon, Widodo had an answer to the Philippine President, which was that in his mind at that point still, the clemency appeal had no basis. In the afternoon, he left Kuala Lumpur for Jakarta, which, by this time, was now abuzz with protests and vigils for Mary Jane.

International Migrants' Alliance Chairperson Eni Lestari speaks with the media about Mary Jane's case during the Asean People's Forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Before she became a migrant rights activist, Eni was an Indonesian migrant worker in Hong Kong. Photo from <b>APF</b>

International Migrants’ Alliance Chairperson Eni Lestari speaks with the media about Mary Jane’s case during the Asean People’s Forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Before she became a migrant rights activist, Eni was an Indonesian migrant worker in Hong Kong. Photo from APF

New appeal

Meanwhile, in Kuala Lumpur on the morning of 28th, President Aquino—who by this time was now armed with information on the arrest of Sergio—called Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi about the possibility of turning Mary Jane into a “state witness” against the drug syndicate that victimized her.

The Philippine government’s new position on Mary Jane as a human trafficking victim certainly put credence to Mary Jane’s claims since her arrest in Yogjakarta in 2010. However, these were the very same claims that Philippine government agencies DFA, NBI and PDEA refused to investigate on because “they had no evidence”, Celia Veloso quoted the agencies’ officials as saying.

During the phone call, when Masrudi asked Aquino why the claim that Mary Jane was a human trafficking victim was raised only now, the Philippine President went on to blame Mary Jane herself. “We discovered that she wasn’t cooperating initially, and she is now very cooperative. We have the opportunity in our case to get the necessary evidence to successfully prosecute the illegal recruiters,” Aquino said.

This was, of course, disputed by Mary Jane’s Filipino lawyers, who said that she fully cooperated from the day she got contact with the Philippine embassy after her arrest. NUPL’s Olalia said that the Indonesian lawyers under Rudyantho and Partners said they had asked embassy officials to investigate Mary Jane’s claims since 2011.

Consulting with labor groups

Meanwhile late evening of April 27, the president’s staff called representatives of various NGOs, purportedly for a meeting on the upcoming Labor Day celebrations. One of those contacted was Anis Hidayah, executive director of Migrant Care, which was one of the NGOs that answered Komnas Perempuan, ATKI and Migrante International’s call to help save Mary Jane’s life.

In a report from Rappler Indonesia, Anis explained that she had to catch a midnight train ride from Jember, Central Java to Jurabaya that evening, and then flew to Jakarta in order to arrive in time for the meeting with Widodo. She knew that Mary Jane’s case would be in the discussion.

Indonesian Cabinet Secreatary Andi Widjajanto. <b>Wikimedia Commons</b>

Indonesian Cabinet Secreatary Andi Widjajanto. Wikimedia Commons

During the meeting, Anis said she could not help but cry when asked about the case. She recalled the case of Siti Zaenab, an abused Indonesian migrant worker accused of murder in Saudi Arabia whom Anis personally helped to save from execution. Zaenab was eventually beheaded by the Saudi government.

The report said that Widodo was “irritated” that he only came to know today about the angle that Mary Jane might be innocent—after he had already repeatedly denied clemency appeals from the Aquino government. This echoed Attorney General’ H.M. Prasetyo’s statement questioning claims that Mary Jane was a victim of human trafficking because it surfaced only a few days before the scheduled execution.

(By all indications, the Widodo government was only informed of the possibility that Mary Jane was a victim of human trafficking after the filing of the second judicial review, in April 24, 2015. The Philippine embassy, pressured by Migrante and NUPL was only able to submit a Bahasa translate on the PDEA report on Mary Jane’s claims at the last minute, April 23. The Aquino government, in its previous clemency appeals—DFA claimed that the Aquino government appealed four times—asked Widodo to grant clemency on humanitarian grounds, not on the basis that Mary Jane may possibly be a human trafficking victim. As with other diplomatic appeals based on humanitarian grounds from Australia and Brazil, Widodo dismissed them.)

For her part, Chuzafìah said she used her connections with the inner circle within the Widodo administration to ensure that Komnas Perempuan’s fact-finding report on Mary Jane, as well as news on Sergio’s surrender from the Philippines’ Department of Justice, were in Widodo’s hands.

After the meeting with the NGOs, and still without a decision on the matter, Prasetyo declared that their government would go ahead with the executions. But after 5pm and even with Prasetyo affirming the executions, Widodo was already in consultation with other officials, namely Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto and officials from Indonesia’s National Narcotics Agency. By this time, news had arrived to them about the supposed surrender of Sergio to Philippine authorities.

The Philippines’ DFA had already publicly stated that legal and diplomatic efforts to save Mary Jane had failed. But Chuzaifah had confidence that there was possibility of a reprieve. This was also relayed by Mary Jane’s Filipino lawyers to hundreds of supporters outside Indonesian embassy in Makati City, Philippines who were in vigil. She said that although many members of Widodo’s inner circle were in favor of the death penalty, there were some like Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto who were open to dialogue with the labor and migrant groups.

Chuzaifah revealed to Pinoy Weekly that by 10pm of April 28, within hours of the executions, “a source” within Widodo’s inner circle related to her the possibility of a repreive.

“Around 10pm, we heard an important message, that possibly the President (Widodo) would change his mind. I got this information but (was told not to) share this information because it was still in the process,” Chuzaifah said. The source, she said, was “a very important source from the circle of the President”.

“They said that the President was asking a very important person and that this important person said that ‘Mr. President, you have to decide correctly based on your heart.’ This is my language, but more or less like that,” she added.

The executions were to commence by midnight. From many accounts, it was before midnight, as the death convicts were on their way to the execution site, that Mary Jane stopped. She was informed then by the Indonesian authorities that her execution would be stayed.

This development was relayed to Indonesian media several minutes later, and eventually to the attendees of the vigil in Makati City by around 1:30 in the morning. The DFA would officially announce the stay of execution at around 2:30am.

Celia Veloso (left). <b>KR Guda</b>

Celia Veloso (left). KR Guda

Veloso family struggles

During the press conference at the Migrante office on May 1, the Velosos recounted their own ordeal with the embassy officials.

Cesar Veloso, father of Mary Jane, narrated that the DFA tried to separate them from their lawyer Olalia. “They hold my hand and kept pulling me inside. But I kept on calling on attorney (Olalia). I struggled and was able to free myself, which is why I was able to talk to attorney (for his legal advice),” said Cesar.

The Veloso family also decried the DFA’s apparent lack of sympathy for them in talking with them about funeral arrangements even after news of Sergio’s surrender opened up possibility that Mary Jane would be reprieved. “They had a list for the expected wake of Mary Jane. It was detailed there (in the list) that there would be a mass. It detailed what casket would be used, what funeral parlor—it was a complete list,” said Maritess Veloso, sister of Mary Jane. “When they asked for a meeting, we thought we would be talking about the surrender of Sergio, that there would be hope. But we talked about Mary Jane’s wake.”

Maritess also narrated the rollercoaster of emotions during the night of the 29th. At past 11pm, the was told that Mary Jane wanted to see her. But it was the Yojakarta high prosecutor who talked with her. But Maritess said she did not understand the high prosecutor, who talked in Bahasa. Meanwhile, Consul General Roberto Manalo, who by then had already known of the stay of execution, didn’t inform her and Darling (Mary Jane’s other sister who were at the island during the time of execution) that Mary Jane was not among those to be executed. Instead, she said they were left to hear the gunshots and thought that Mary Jane was already executed.

“We were holding hands together with my sister Darling. Then we heard a gunshot… I was crying, screaming Mary Jane’s name, asking why she wanted to see me. I will never forget when I heard those gunshots,” said Maritess.

They later came to know about the reprieve. Mary Jane lived, and the world who helped her win a repreive celebrated her temporary triumph.

With Reports from Darius Galang, Ma. Divine Velarde, Alber F. Jonah, Meliza A. Casipit, Frances Cyril A. Clemente, and John Emmanuel A. Diwas

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Celia Veloso, iba pang nanay binigyang-pugay sa Araw ng mga Ina http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/05/celia-veloso-pang-mga-nanay-binigyang-pugay-sa-araw-ng-mga-ina/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/05/celia-veloso-pang-mga-nanay-binigyang-pugay-sa-araw-ng-mga-ina/#comments Sun, 10 May 2015 16:05:07 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=34902 Mothers Walk for Mary Jane, isinagawa sa Quezon Memorial Circle sa Araw ng mga Ina. <strong>Pher Pasion</strong>

Mothers Walk for Mary Jane, isinagawa sa Quezon Memorial Circle sa Araw ng mga Ina. Pher Pasion

Bitbit ang mga rosas at mga lobo, sama-samang ginunita ng mga nanay ang Araw ng mga Ina na pinangunahan ni Celia Veloso, ina ni Mary Jane Veloso, sa Quezon Memorial Circle sa Quezon City.

Kasama ang mga grupong Gabriela, Gabriela Women’s Party at Migrante International, tinawag nila itong “Mothers Walk for Mary Jane” bilang patuloy na pasasalamat sa mga ina na sumuporta kay Mary Jane at pagpapatuloy sa panawagan na mailigtas siya at mapauwi na sa Pilipinas.

“Nagpapasalamat po ako at buo naming pamilya sa lahat ng mga tumulong sa aking anak. Bilang ina, kailangan po nating maging matatag at ipaglaban ang para sa atin. Huwag tayong pumayag na habambuhay ay tapak-tapakan tayo,” ayon kay Celia.

Celia Veloso, ina ni Mary Jane, na nag-abot ng mga rosas sa mga ina sa Quezon Memorial Circle habang nagpapasalamat sa mga ina at pagbibigay pagbati sa pagdiriwang ng Araw ng mga Ina. <strong>Pher Pasion</strong>

Celia Veloso, ina ni Mary Jane, na nag-abot ng mga rosas sa mga ina sa Quezon Memorial Circle habang nagpapasalamat sa mga ina at pagbibigay pagbati sa pagdiriwang ng Araw ng mga Ina. Pher Pasion

Ayon naman kay Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Emmi De Jesus, kanilang ipinagdiriwang ang araw na ito sa diwa ng pagpapahalaga sa mga nanay sa pagtataguyod ng mga isyu sa kanilang komunidad, sa mga isyu ng bayan.

Nakiisa din sa nasabing pagtitipon ang mga ina ng mga overseas Filipino workers na nakakulong sa ibayong dagat. Nanawagan si Editha Dacanay, ina ni Rose Dacanay na nasa death row ngayon sa Saudti Arabia, ng tulong sa publiko.

Gayundin ang tulong na hinihingi ni Maritess Aquino, ina ni Edmar Aquino na anim na tanon ng nakakulong sa Iran.

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Ilegal na rekruter ng ‘DC Teachers’, pinagpapanagot ng DOJ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/05/ilegal-na-rekruter-ng-dc-teachers-pinagpapanagot-ng-doj/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/05/ilegal-na-rekruter-ng-dc-teachers-pinagpapanagot-ng-doj/#comments Sun, 10 May 2015 16:01:15 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=34893 wanted-isidro

Poster ng Migrante International para sa paghahanap kay Isidro Rodriguez

Isa na namang inisyal na tagumpay laban sa illegal recruitment ang natamasa ng mga biktima nito.

Inilabas ng Department of Justice (DOJ) noong Abril 30 ang resolusyon na nagsasaad na hatol na guilty kay Isidro Rodriguez sa mga kasong large-scale illegal recruitment at syndicated estafa. Tugon ito sa reklamong isinampa ng ilan sa may 300 guro na nabiktima ni Rodriguez.

Masayang tinanggap ng Migrante International ang resolusyon, na mahigit isang taon matapos tinugunan ng ayuda ng mga guro, na narekruta ni Rodriguez para magturo sa Washington DC, US pero kung saan-saang trabaho ipinasok.

Ayon sa Migrante, inisyal na tagumpay ito para sa nabiktimang mga guro.

Noong Disyembre 18, 2013 pa nang nakipag-usap ang ilang miyembro ng tinaguriang “DC Teachers”, kasama ang Migrante International at Gabriela, sa National Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) sa Department of Justice (DOJ).

“Tuluy-tuloy ang tagumpay ng sama-samang pagkilos at paglaban. Maghihitay kami ng paborableng resolusyon para naman sa motion for reconsideration na isnampa namin ukol sa trafficking cases,” ani Sol Pillas, pangkalahatang kalihim ng Migrante International.

Umaasa sana ang mga biktima, maging ang Migrante at Gabriela, na makasuhan din si Rodriguez sa ilalim ng Republic Act No. 10364 o Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 bilang unang kaso ng human trafficking na mapaparusahan sa ilalim ng naturang batas.

Pero ayon sa Migrante, tila, minaliit ito noon ng DOJ. Saad noon ni Garry Martinez, tagapangulo ng Migrante, “‘Yung mga napapalis na nasa US na may 50 teachers ay dinidinig na yung kaso nila sa human trafficking. (Pero) kapag dito (sa Pilipinas), hindi nila kinonsider na trafficking ito, kahit may mahigit 100 complainant.”

Nakatala si Rodriguez bilang isa sa notoryus na mga illegal recruiter at human trafficker, ayon sa konsulada ng Pilipinas sa Estados Unidos. Mayroon pa rin siyang nakabinbin na mga kaso sa US na isinampa ng mga nabiktima niya at ngayo’y nakabase sa US.

Pawang lisensiyado at propesyunal na mga guro ang nabiktima ni Rodriguez. Hindi bababa sa 500 katao ang mga biktimang ito, sa ilalim ng mga ahensiyang Renaissance Staffing and Support, Inc., (kilala dati na Great Provider Service Exporters, Inc.), at ang katuwang nito sa US na Green Life Care International, LLC.

Umaabot sa hanggang kalahating milyong piso ang nasingil ni Rodriguez sa bawat isa para umano sa “processing, service, pick-up, housing and interview fees”. Pangakong trabaho sa iba’t ibang paralan sa US ang alok sa mga nabiktima, ngunit wala naman palang ganoon na maaabutan ang mga nakaalis ng bansa.

Nasentensiyahan na rin si Rodriguez ng 11-taong pagkakabilanggo noong Nobyembre ng nakaraang taon, sa kasong pambibiktima ng isang guro. Ngunit malayo pa ito sa hinihiling ng iba pang mga biktima dahil iisa lamang ito habang nakaantabay pa ang iba pang patong na patong na kaso kay Rodriguez.

Patuloy rin umano ang pagmamatyag sa mga kinaroroonan ni Rodriguez. Napabalitaang nakita siya sa Madrid, Spain.

Sinabi ni Pillas na patuloy ang kanilang pangangalampag sa DOJ upang aksiyunan ang iba pang mga kaso kay Rodriguez.

“Patuloy ang aming pagmamatyag at pangangalampag hangga’t matamasa ng mga biktima ang hustisya, at panawagan din namin, na arestuhin na sa lalo’t madaling panhon si Rodriguez,” dugtong pa ni Pillas.

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Kaso ni Mary Jane, kailangang batayan ng taumbayan http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/05/kaso-ni-mary-jane-kailangang-batayan-ng-taumbayan/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/05/kaso-ni-mary-jane-kailangang-batayan-ng-taumbayan/#comments Sun, 10 May 2015 15:50:40 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=34898 Preliminary investigation ng Department of Justice sa pangunguna ni Assistant State Prosecutor Susan Azarcon sa kaso laban sa mga illegal recruiter di umano ni Mary Jane Veloso. <strong>Pher Pasion</strong>

Preliminary investigation ng Department of Justice sa pangunguna ni Assistant State Prosecutor Susan Azarcon sa kaso laban sa mga illegal recruiter di umano ni Mary Jane Veloso. Pher Pasion

Nagprotesta ang iba’t ibang mga grupo sa harapan ng Department of Justice (DOJ) sa pagbubukas ng preliminary investigation sa kaso nina Maria Kristina Sergio at Julius Lacanilao, ang itinuturong mga rekruter ni Mary Jane Veloso.

Ayon kay Renato Reyes, Jr., pangkalahatang kalihim ng Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), kailangang patuloy na manawagan sa pagliligtas at pagpapalaya kay Mary Jane.

“Hindi dapat na hayaan na muling matulog ang kaso ni Mary Jane lalo na’t nasa gobyerno na ng Pilipinas nakasalalay ang kaso ni Mary Jane,” ayon kay Reyes.

Nagbigay ng hanggang Mayo 11 ang DOJ para sa pagsusumite ng lahat ng ebidensiya laban sa mga suspek. Matapos ang nasabing deadline, hindi na tatanggap ng ano pa mang ebidensiya ang DOJ.

Kinuwestiyon naman ni Edre Olalia, abogado ng pamilya Veloso, ang pagbibigay ng mga abogado mula sa Public Attorneys Office (PAO) kina Sergio at Lacanilla. Tanong ni Olalia, kung dapat bang bigyan ng serbisyo ng PAO sina Sergio kung may kakayahan naman itong magbayad ng pribadong abogado.

Hindi naman nakapagbigay agad ng legal na batayan ang mga abogado ng PAO. Binigyan sila ng DOJ hanggang Mayo 11 para isumite ang kaukulang legal na batayan para ipresenta sina Sergio at Lacanilao.

Nagprotesta ang iba't ibang grupo sa harapan ng Department of Justice sa pagbubukas ng imbestigasyon sa kaso ng umano'y mga rekurter ni Mary Jane Veloso. <strong>Pher Pasion</strong>Nagprotesta ang iba't ibang grupo sa harapan ng Department of Justice sa pagbubukas ng imbestigasyon sa kaso ng umano'y mga rekurter ni Mary Jane Veloso. <strong>Pher Pasion</strong>

Nagprotesta ang iba’t ibang grupo sa harapan ng Department of Justice sa pagbubukas ng imbestigasyon sa kaso ng umano’y mga rekurter ni Mary Jane Veloso. Pher Pasion

“Nililinawin namin, may karapatan ang respondents sa abogado. Hindi namin inaalis yan… Ang punto, bakit sa isang taong labas masok ng Pilipinas, in one month tatlo, apat, lima? Paano naging indigent yun? Pinagkakait mo yung nangangailangan,” ayon kay Olalia.

Pinabulaanan din ni Olalia na minamadali ang proceedings ng kaso. Kung talagang inosente sina Sergio nasa bentahe umano ng kabilang kampo na magmadali.

“Ayaw din namin na maparatangan na niratsada. Hindi kami papaya kasi dapat may integridad ang legal proceedings para kung maging tuntungan ito Indonesia ay walang kuwestiyon. Kailangan ang integridad ng proceeding, yung awtoridad ng abogado niya,” ayon kay Olalia.

Samantala, ayon kay Howard Areza, abogado nina Sergio at Lacanilao, mula sa PAO, wala umanong inamin sina Sergio patungkol sa lumabas na balita kamakailan na inamin di umano nila na sangkot sila sa isang international na sindikato ng droga sa imbestigasyong isinagawa ng National Bureau of Investigation.

“Yung confession na sinasabi hindi ko alam kung saan nila kinuha. In fact, hindi ko alam kung bakit isinama doon sa resolution. Hindi ko malaman yung mga facts doon kung saan nila kinuha,” ayon kay Areza.

Ayon naman kay Olalia, hindi pa sila nakakakuha ng kopya ng nasabing imbestigasyon na pag-amin umano nila Sergio.

Nakatakda naman sa Mayo 20, 25, at Hunyo 1 ang mga susunod na pagdinig para bigyan ng sapat na panahon ang mga inaakusahan sa kanilang counter affidavits.

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STATEMENT | The people have prevailed, now heads must roll http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/04/statement-the-people-have-prevailed-now-heads-must-roll/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/04/statement-the-people-have-prevailed-now-heads-must-roll/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 19:50:14 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=34676 Militant jubilation. KR Guda

Militant jubilation. KR Guda

It is with utmost jubilance that we announce to all Filipinos and supporters here in the Philippines and around the world that the Indonesian government has suspended the implementation of the death sentence on our kababayan Mary Jane Veloso until all proceedings in the Philippines is finished. 

We express our most heartfelt joyous solidarity with the Veloso family – Tatay Cesar and Nanay Celia, Christopher, Maritess, Darling and the rest of Mary Jane’s siblings, Michael, and most especially to Mac-Mac and Darren who have captured our hearts and further fortified our resolve to fight for Mary Jane’s life to the end. We feel your triumph because it is also ours. We rejoice with you. You have become every Filipino’s family, and Mary Jane every Filipino’s daughter, sister and mother.

We said that only the people can save Mary Jane. We fought the good fight, we would like to think the best fight that we could have ever waged, and because of this we have prevailed.

The whole Filipino nation and the world now cry tears of joy but, collectively, with peoples of other nationalities, we rage against the injustice done to Mary Jane. We will continue to fight for justice for Mary Jane, justice for all migrant workers and justice for the Filipino people.

Now, heads must roll.

The Filipino people still unite in the stance that Aquino and his government did too little, too late for Mary Jane. If not for national and international pressure and censure, Aquino would not have been compelled to take urgent action. Right to the end, Aquino had the gall to put on a stoic face and declare, when asked why his last-minute suggestion of turning Mary Jane into a witness against big drug rings came up just now, that “details of the case came into light only in the last few days” and that Mary Jane “did not cooperate at first.” Lies upon lies upon lies to the end, nothing could be farther from the truth. Because of government neglect and passivity, Aquino had placed Mary Jane on the brink of death.

Now, heads must roll. We condemn and hold accountable the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Aquino himself for the sufferings of Mary Jane and her family. As we rejoice we continue to rage.

We now express grave concern for the lives of other Filipinos on death row and in jails abroad. How many more Mary Janes will suffer the same fate? The government has not shown transparency and accountability for failing to save the lives of Filipinos on death row. Mary Jane would have been the eighth Filipino executed abroad within Aquino’s term, the most number of executions under one regime since the Philippine labor export policy was implemented in the 1970s.

More importantly, we blame the Aquino government’s labor export policy for placing Mary Jane and millions of our migrant workers at risk and in grave danger.

Mary Jane was driven to desperation by extreme poverty, landlessness and enormous pressure as the caretaker of her children. She hailed from a poor family of sakadas (farm workers) in Hacienda Luisita. In her letters, she said so herself that she merely dreamed of a better future for her children and her family.

Mary Jane was forced to go abroad because the Aquino government had offered her nothing substantive and sustainable to address her family’s needs. Instead, what it had offered were programs that do nothing to address widespread unemployment and landlessness, the root causes of forced migration.

Mary Jane had been victimized by a trafficker, but Aquino’s labor export policy is the worst form of state-sponsored trafficking of Filipinos. In his five years in office, Aquino has indisputably become the “Trafficker-in-Chief” of migrant workers like Mary Jane.

Today, we celebrate the people’s victory by demanding a change to the very system that preyed on Mary Jane’s desperation and almost took her life. We come together for every Filipino’s life, honor and dignity. We do not want more Mary Janes to suffer because of the Aquino government’s failure and neglect.

Only Aquino’s ouster from office will give Mary Jane the justice she truly deserves.

 

Justice for Mary Jane! Justice for all migrant workers! Justice for the Filipino people! Oust Aquino!

 

Garry Martinez

Chairperson, Migrante International

2:15am, April 29, 2015

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Did Noynoy do enough to #SaveMaryJaneVeloso? Here are five points that prove he didn’t. http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/04/did-noynoy-do-enough-to-savemaryjaneveloso-here-are-five-points-to-prove-he-didnt/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/04/did-noynoy-do-enough-to-savemaryjaneveloso-here-are-five-points-to-prove-he-didnt/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 08:41:07 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=34661 At the vigil to #SaveMaryJaneVeloso in front of the Indonesian embassy in Makati City, PH. <b>Pher Pasion</b>

At the vigil to #SaveMaryJaneVeloso in front of the Indonesian embassy in Makati City, PH. Pher Pasion

During the past few days and hours, President Aquino, according to his spokespersons, has been busy trying to convince Indonesian President Joko Widodo to save overseas Filipino worker Mary Jane Veloso from the firing squad. He did the five-minute walk with Jokowi and asked him to consider Mary Jane as a witness against drug cartels in Indonesia. The Indonesian president apparently remains unmoved.

At the same time, a foreign affairs spokesperson said that Mary Jane was given due process by the Indonesian government to prove her innocence. He likewise — and predictably so — defended the Aquino government, saying that they did all they could possibly do to save Mary Jane. We remain unconvinced.

Here are five reasons why.

1. The Aquino government failed to provide legal support for Mary Jane in 2010.

Mary Jane herself confirmed this: the Philippine embassy officials failed to give her legal support. It was the Indonesian police that stepped in to provide her with legal representation as her case was being investigated and tried. The Indonesian court, for its part, also failed to give her a competent and professional translator so that she may understand the proceedings and defend herself in court.

In an interview with Pinoy Weekly, Garry Martinez of Migrante International said this has been the case with an overwhelming number of Filipinos in legal trouble abroad. “Many embassy and consulate officials, it seems, are often ‘afraid’ to cross hairs with their host governments that they often fail to adequately give support or assistance to distressed Filipino abroad,” said Martinez. There are at least 124 other Filipinos currently on death row in different countries, while 7,000 are in jail in foreign lands for various offenses.

Progressive lawmakers, meanwhile, pointed out that the Aquino government had more than enough funds to hire competent lawyers for beleaguered Filipinos abroad. “The Department of Foreign Affairs has by law, an annual budget of P100-Million for Assistance to Nationals (Filipinos abroad in distress). Only P4-M was utilized last year. Why was it not be used to hire lawyers and interpreters to assist OFWs in crisis situations, like Mary Jane Veloso?” Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan asked.

Meanwhile, this happens. A lot.

2. The Aquino administration (and earlier administrations, for that matter) has refrained from publicizing actual cases of Filipinos on death row — even Mary Jane’s — until it is all but too late.

If not for Migrante International’s campaign to save Mary Jane (which is part of their long-standing, global campaign to publicize and gather support for overseas Filipino workers on death row) this first quarter of 2015, the public would not have known of Mary Jane’s case and the circumstances of her arrest and detention.

A public information campaign to help Filipinos in death row abroad — and distressed OFWs in general — would greatly help in gathering support for these Filipinos, who are often persecuted under repressive regimes and conservative laws like that of Saudi Arabia. Filipino migrant workers often work in the most stressful and risky situations. Migrant women are especially vulnerable to sexual abuse. Confronted with the threat of abuse, many of them are forced to defend themselves. And in repressive countries like Saudi Arabia, defending oneself (i.e. inflicting harm or even killing an attacker, even in self-defense) is often considered criminal, especially if one is a migrant.

As we have seen with the case of Mary Jane, a public information campaign can solicit support for broad sections of the public. If this was done earlier (say, at least a year ago), it is highly probable that it would have made more impact on the Indonesian courts trying her case, as well as on Indon politicians to act in favor of Mary Jane.  After all, pressure politics and diplomacy often play a major role in death penalty cases involving foreigners.

3. President Aquino had much political leverage in negotiating for Mary Jane’s clemency since 2010. It appears he utilized little of that in negotiating with Widodo.

If Aquino only took half the time he spent helping out the United States in its pivot to Asia, he would have gained much in terms of securing clemency for Filipinos on death row. In Mary Jane’s case, the Aquino administration could have invoked the long-standing close relations between the Philippines and Indonesia. Indonesia is the Philippines’ 11th biggest trading partner, with US$3.6-Billion in trade in 2013. Both countries have been allies for ages, and were co-founding members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and the Non-Aligned Movement. The Philippines and Indonesia are first and second, respectively, in exporting labor to other countries in the world.

Last year, both countries concluded the negotiations to end a long-standing border dispute in the overlapping exclusive economic zones in Mindanao and Celebes Seas. Just this February, newly-elected Indon President Joko Widodo undertook a state visit to the Philippines. It was a perfect opportunity to attempt to leverage the close diplomatic and trade relations between the two to secure clemency for Mary Jane, who was by then already sentenced to die by firing squad.

Aquino could have even invoked his administration’s efforts to put to justice “terrrorists” like Marwan, who it claimed was one of the bombmakers responsible for the bombing in Bali, Indonesia in 2002.

4. President Aquino did not use pressure politics to force Widodo to at least stay the execution and allow the Indonesian court to hear the second judicial review on Mary Jane’s case.

While the Australian government has been at Widodo’s cross hairs for a while now over the death sentence of two of its citizens, the Aquino administration has refrained from ruffling feathers over Mary Jane’s case.

This is an especially important point, because Widodo came to power in Jakarta on the strength of his reputation as a “reformer” and anti-illegal drugs crusader. The Hollande government of France has, at least, employed enough pressure on Widodo (even invoking the European Union’s relations with Indonesia) to force the latter to at least stay the execution of a Frenchman on death row. Meanwhile, the Brazilian and Dutch governments went ahead with their threats to recall their ambassadors after their citizens were executed by the Widodo government despite their pleas. With the looming Asean integration, Aquino could have actively used the Asean platform to pressure Widodo.

If you think these actions are “too extreme” to save “just one” Filipino citizen, take note that the Australian, French, Brazilian and Dutch governments did these “extreme” actions  because they apparently thought that they owed it to their constituents to do everything in their power to save their one citizen on death row in Indonesia.  Meanwhile, Department of Foreign Affairs officials assured that Mary Jane’s case would not affect diplomatic relations between Indonesia and the Philippines.

5. Aquino’s foreign affairs official has been quoted as defending Indonesia’s actions

As if the government’s inaction was not damaging enough to Mary Jane’s chances of securing clemency, DFA spokesperson Charles Jose yesterday basically said that the Indonesian government was fair in its handling of Mary Jane’s cases — despite revelations by Mary Jane herself, as well has her Indonesian and Filipino lawyers, that she was not given a fair trial (for lack of a competent translator, among others). ““We know she was given due process and her rights were upheld throughout this legal process,” Jose said. The DFA spokesperson has basically absolved the Indonesian government of any possibility of wrongdoing or weakness in its handling of Mary Jane’s case.

Again, it’s as if the Aquino administration was afraid of offending or even inconveniencing the Indonesian government to save the life of Mary Jane Veloso.

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LIVE UPDATES | #SaveMaryJaneVeloso http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/04/live-updates-savemaryjaneveloso/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/04/live-updates-savemaryjaneveloso/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 12:09:50 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=34644 PW-savemaryjane-01

This April 28, the Indonesian government led by President Joko Widodo has committed to kill overseas Filipino worker Mary Jane Veloso. This despite the frantic last-minute campaign to plead for her clemency, from the various people’s organizations and personalities in the Philippines to Indonesian groups and celebrities to migrant rights activists and groups in different countries to international leaders like United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, East Timorese (and former victim of Indonesian repression) and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jorge Ramos-Horta, Tony-award winning writer and activist Eve Ensler, and many others. Even Filipino congressman and boxing hero Manny Pacquiao, upon appeals by Mary Jane’s mother, joined in appealing to Widodo.

Mary Jane’s legal team from the Philippines, led by human rights lawyers Edre Olalia and Minerva Lopez, flew to Jakarta with most of Mary Jane’s family members to exhaust all legal avenues to save her. Meanwhile, supporters have camped out in front of the Indonesian embassy in Makati City, Philippines to put added pressure on the Widodo government, braving police harassment and intimidation. Progressive groups and different sectors have likewise launched their own vigils in different parts of the country. They are determined to save Mary Jane, and pray that she not meet the fate of Flor Contemplacion, who was executed in Singapore despite a popular clamor for her clemency, 20 years ago. As with Flor’s case, Mary Jane had complained that the Philippine government did not provide ample legal help for the past five years of her imprisonment in Indonesia.

Follow Pinoy Weekly’s updates on the campaign to #SaveMaryJaneVeloso, on Twitter, Facebook and in this page.

More photos of the first two days of vigil to #SafeMaryJaneVeloso in front of Indon embassy. (Photos by KR Guda and Macky Macaspac)

Posted by Pinoy Weekly on Monday, April 27, 2015

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Tayo si Mary Jane http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/04/tayo-si-mary-jane/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/04/tayo-si-mary-jane/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 06:56:34 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=34642 Literal na binibilang natin ang oras bago bawian ng buhay ng gobyerno ng Indonesia si Mary Jane Veloso sa kasong drug trafficking. Hanggang sa ngayon, hindi pa rin nakikinig si Pang. Joko Widodo ng Indonesia sa panawagan hindi lamang ng kaanak ni Mary Jane at mga mamamayang Pilipino kundi ng mga mamamayan ng Indonesia at international community.

Habang nasa vigil kami kasama ng iba’t iba sektor sa tapat ng Indonesian Embassy sa Makati kagabi, pilit na pinapaalis ang mga tagasuporta ni Mary Jane. Hinahanapan kami ng permit sa araw na walang opisina. At bigla-bigla, dumating ang sandamakmak na pulis na humigit-kumulang 50 na may dalang shield at ihaharap sa mga mamamayang tanging dala ay kandila, panalangin, at panawagan sa mga gobyerno ng Indonesia at Pilipinas na huwag ng ituloy ang hatol kay Mary Jane.

Napakalapit sa akin ng isyu ng mga migrante tulad ni Mary Jane, isang ina, kapatid at anak. Ang tatay ko ay isang seaman, ang nanay ko ay isang dating domestic helper sa Hong Kong, ang mga pinsan ko ay nasa Dubai, may mga tiyo at tiya akong nasa Canada, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, at Singapore at ilang malalapit na kaibigang naghahanapbuhay sa ibang bansa.

Si Mary Jane ay anak ng isang manggagawang-bukid o sakada sa Hacienda Luisita na pagmamay-ari ng angkan ni Pang. Noynoy Aquino. Kalunus-lunos ang kalagayan ng mga sakada ng Luisita na nagtitiis sa barya-baryang pasahod habang nagpapasasa ang mga Conjuangco-Aquino sa yamang nililikha ng mga tulad ng tatay ni Mary Jane.

Dahil na rin sa sobrang kahirapan sa kanayunan, napilitang makipagsapalaran si Mary Jane sa Dubai bilang domestic worker ngunit bumalik makaraan ng ilang buwan dahil pinagtangkaan siyang gahasain. Muling nagbaka sakali si Mary Jane sa Malaysia. Ngunit ‘di niya alam na siya’y lolokohin ng isang kaibigan.

Si Cristina Sergio, kinakasama ng kinakapatid ni Mary Jane, ang nagrekrut at nagpakilala sa isang lalaking Aprikano sa Malaysia kay Mary Jane at inutusang dalhin ang maletang may lamang heroin. Hindi alam ni Mary Jane na may lamang droga ang bagaheng ipinadala sa kanya dahil nakatago ito sa lining ng maleta. Ang sabi sa kanya, magbabakasyon lang daw sa Indonesia tsaka babalik sa Malaysia para muling maghanap ng trabaho. Ngunit paglapag ng Indonesia, nahuli, nilitis, at nahatulan ng kamatayan si Mary Jane noong 2010, taon kung kailan nailuklok sa puwesto si Aquino. Ito’y isang trahedya hindi lamang sa pamilya ni Mary Jane ang kanyang sinapit, kundi maging sa mga mamamayang Pilipino.

Iniisip ko habang nasa vigil ako na kahit kaninong migrante ay maaaring mangyari ang nangyari kay Mary Jane. Naluluha na ko habang nagbibigay ng mensahe ng pagsuporta sa pamilya ni Mary Jane.

Hindi natin maaaring sabihing, “Ang tanga naman niya. Bakit ‘di muna niya tiningnan ang laman ng maleta? Bakit ‘di muna niya sinigurado na ligal ang pagpasok niya sa Malaysia at Indonesia?” Mga kababayan at kaibigan, hindi kasalanan ni Mary Jane at ng iba pang migrante na wala silang mahanap na disenteng trabaho at nakabubuhay na sahod sa loob ng bansa. Hindi kasalanan ni Mary Jane na maging mahirap. Hindi kasalanan ni Mary Jane na hindi siya nakapagtapos ng pag-aaral.

Ang babata pa ng dalawang anak na lalaki ni Mary Jane. Hindi ko maisip kung anong uri ng kalungkutan ang nararamdaman nila. Mahirap na ngang umalis ang iyong magulang para magtrabaho sa ibang bansa, paano pa kaya na malaman mo na papatayin ang iyong ina dahil sa kasalanang ‘di naman niya ginawa?

Sa patuloy na pagtutulak ng rehimeng Aquino sa programang K-12 at labor-export policy, lalo lamang palalalain ng gobyerno ang kalagayan ng mga manggagawa at migranteng Pilipino. Ang tugon ni Aquino sa kawalang ng hanapbuhay sa Pilipinas? Mag-abroad at magpakaalipin sa mga dayuhan! Ang galing, ano? Lalong dadami ang mga mangingibang bayan sa murang edad pagkatapos ng senior high school dahil walang trabaho kayang likhain ang pamahalaan sa loob ng bansa. Hindi na natuto sa kaso ni Flor Contemplacion na nahatulan rin kamatayan sa Singapore noong 1995. At 20 taon ang nakalipas, mayroong Mary Jane Veloso na isang biktima ng human trafficking at krisis ng lipunang Pilipino.

Kumilos tayo habang may oras pang nalalabi sa buhay ng ating kababayan. Huwag nating hayaan na isa na naming inosenteng buhay ang kitilin dahil lamang sa kapabayaan ng isang pamahalaang wala ng ginawa kundi magpapogi sa mga amo nitong dayuhan habang unti-unting pinapatay ang kanyang mga mamamayan. Sama-sama nating ipanawagan kay Pang. Joko Widodo na huwag ng ituloy ang pagpatay kay Mary Jane, dinggin muli ang kanyang kaso at sa maksimum, bigyan ng clemency at pardon at pauwiin sa kanyang pamilya.

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‘Gobyerno ng Pilipinas, nagsisinungaling sa kaso ni Mary Jane’ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/04/gobyerno-ng-pilipinas-nagsisinungaling-sa-kaso-ni-mary-jane/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/04/gobyerno-ng-pilipinas-nagsisinungaling-sa-kaso-ni-mary-jane/#comments Sat, 25 Apr 2015 03:08:29 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=34623 Protesta ng Migrante International sa harapan ng Department of Foreign Affairs para sa pagsasalba ng buhay ni Mary Jane Veloso. <strong>Pher Pasion</strong>

Protesta ng Migrante International sa harapan ng Department of Foreign Affairs para sa pagsasalba ng buhay ni Mary Jane Veloso. Pher Pasion

“Pawang mga kasinungalingan” ng administrasyong Aquino ang natuklasan ng mga abogado ni Mary Jane Veloso sa kanilang pagdating sa Indonesia para tumulong sa kaso.

Taliwas sa sinasabi ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas na ginagawa nila ang lahat para kay Mary Jane, malinaw na kapabayaan ang ginawa sa kaso ni Mary Jane, ayon sa PH legat team sa pangunguna nina Edre Olalia at Minnie Lopez, mga abogabo ni Mary Jane mula sa National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL).

Ayon sa mga ulat sa midya, umutos na ang gobyerno ng Indonesia sa pangunguna ni Pang. Joko Widodo na bitayin si Mary Jane.

Hindi pa rin naisusumite umano ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas ang apela nito para sa second judicial review. Sa pinakahuling pahayag ng Migrante, naisumite na ng mga abogado ni Mary Jane, ngayon lamang Abril 24, 2015 ganap na 3:50 ng hapon ang apela para sa second judicial review para sa kaso ni Mary Jane.

Nakikipag-usap ang human rights lawyer na si Edre Olalia sa mga kapwa abogadong Indonesian sa harap ng isang bilding sa Jakarta. Larawan mula sa FB page <b>Save the Life of Mary Jane Veloso</b>

Nakikipag-usap ang human rights lawyer na si Edre Olalia sa mga kapwa abogadong Indonesian sa harap ng isang bilding sa Jakarta. Larawan mula sa FB page Save the Life of Mary Jane Veloso

Sa  pakikipag-usap din ng PH legal team sa Rudyantho & Partners (R&P), mga abogadong Indonesian ni Mary Jane, kanilang natuklasan na hindi totoo na nagbigay ang embahada ng Pilipinas kay Mary Jane ng abogado mula sa umpisa ng kaso. Kinumpirma umano ito ng isang Atty. Agus Salim, na sa appeal stage lamang kinuha ng embahada ang serbisyo ng R&P.

Bago at sa pagtakbo ng pagdinig sa korte, isang abogado ng korte, katulad ng Public Assistance Office (PAO) sa Pilipinas ang nagrepresinta lamang kay Mary Jane.

Sa mga lumipas na taon, humingi na umano ng tulong ang R&P sa gobyernong Aquino para imbestigahan si Kristina “Tintin” Sergio, ang itinuturong recruiter at trafficker ni Mary Jane, kahit bago pa man maisumite ang unag petisyon para sa judicial review.

Malaking instrumento sana ito para sa pag-apela nila. Dismayado sila nang malamang inasikaso lamang umano ito ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas matapos ibasura ng Indonesian Supreme Court ang judicial review noong Marso 25, 2015.

Nito lamang Abril 16, 2015 nakapagsumite ng letter-complaint laban kay Sergio, sa tulong ng mga abogado ng NUPL na pawang mga pro bono (o nagbigay ng libreng serbisyo), sa National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), at Inter-Agency Council against Trafficking (IACAT).

Isang sertipikasyon mula sa may mga awtoridad sa Pilipinas na nakasalin sa Bahasa ay krusyal para suportahan ang paghiling sa second judicial review. Hinihintay pa rin sa kasalukuyan ang nasabing sertipikasyon.

Nito lamang nakaraang lingo nang ibigay ng embahada ng Pilipinas sa R&P ang mga opisyal na salin ng una at ikalawang hatol sa kaso ni Mary Jane. Oktobre 11, 2010 nang hatulan si Mary Jane ng kamatayan ng District Court of Justice of Sleman sa Yogjakarta, Indonesia. Pinagtibay naman ng Court of Appeal ng Yogjakarta ang parusang kamatayan kay Mary Jane noong Pebrero 10, 2011.

Sa isinumiteng report ng PDEA para sa plano nitong pagtulong sa pagsumite ng second petition for judicial review, na nagmula sa testimonya ni Mary Jane matapos siyang bisitahin noong Marso 29, 2015, nito lamang Abril 23, 2015 nakatanggap ang R&P ng salin ng report sa Bahasa. Halos isang buwan matapos makuha ng PDEA ang testimonya ni Mary Jane.

Hindi pa umano nakikipagkoordina ang PDEA sa Indonesian counterpart nito na Basan Narkotika Basional (BNN) para ipagkumpara ang resulta ng kanilang mga imbestigasyon. Hindi pa nakakakuha ng kopya ng report ang PH legal team at ang R&P.

Hindi rin daw totoo ang sinasabi ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas na hindi agad mangyayari ang pagbitay kay Mary Jane hangga’t hindi nareresolba ang lahat ng apela ng Bali 9 (isang sindikato ng droga sa Indonesia kung saan pilit iniuugnay si Mary Jane).

Nilinaw ng R&P na walang epekto ang pagkakabinbin ng apela ng Bali 9 sa sentensiyang kamatayan kay Mary Jane, kaya higit ang agarang makuha ang mga kinakailangang dokumento mula sa gobyerno ng Pilipinas para maisalba si Mary Jane.

“Ang katotohanan ay walang ginawa ang gobyernong Aquino sa kaso ni Mary Jane, kaya nagkukumahog sila ngayon. Nasa bingit ng kamatayan ang isang inosente nating kababayan dahil sa kapabayaan at kawalang-pakialam ng gobyerno. Hindi ito bago. Ganito rin sa lahat ng mga OFW. Ganito rin sa Mamasapano. Ganito rin sa Hacienda Luisita. Ganito rin kay Jennifer Laude. Ganito rin kay Kristel Tejada. Ganito rin sa lahat ng Pilipino,” ayon kay Garry Martinez, chairperson ng Migrante International.

Nanawagan si Martinez sa lahat ng mga tagasuporta ng #SaveMaryJaneVeloso campaign na panagutin ang administrasyong Aquino sa “kriminal na kapabayaan” nito sa kaso ni Mary Jane.

 

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Kawalan ng trabaho sa Pilipinas, nagtulak kay Mary Jane Veloso na mangibang-bansa — Gabriela http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/04/kawalan-ng-trabaho-sa-pilipinas-nagtulak-kay-mary-jane-veloso-na-mangibang-bansa-gabriela/ http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2015/04/kawalan-ng-trabaho-sa-pilipinas-nagtulak-kay-mary-jane-veloso-na-mangibang-bansa-gabriela/#comments Sat, 25 Apr 2015 02:46:24 +0000 http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=34613 Nagtungo sa Mendiola sa Maynila ang kababaihan sa ilalim ng Gabriela para sa trabaho sa bansa at pagsalba sa buhay ni Mary Jane Veloso at iba pang mga migranteng Pilipino na nasa death row. <strong>Pher Pasion</strong>

Nagtungo sa Mendiola sa Maynila ang kababaihan sa ilalim ng Gabriela para sa trabaho sa bansa at pagsalba sa buhay ni Mary Jane Veloso at iba pang mga migranteng Pilipino na nasa death row. Pher Pasion

Nagtungo ang kababaihan ng Gabriela sa Mendiola mula Trabaho Market sa Maynila para singilin ang administrasyong Aquino sa patuloy na kawalan ng tunay na trabaho para sa mga mamamayan na nagtutulak sa maraming Pilipino para mangibang bayan.

Bahagi rin ito ng panawagawan nila para isalba ang buhay ni Mary Jane Veloso, Pilipinang hinatulan ng kamatayan sa Indonesia.

Tinawag nilang “Martsa ng Kababaihan para sa regular na trabaho sa sariling bayan” ang nasa nasabing pagkilos. Kanilang iginigiit sa administrasyong Aquino na lumikha ng mga pambansang industriyang magbibigay ng trabaho sa loob ng bansa para hindi mapilitang umalis ng Pilipinas ang maraming Pilipino tulad ni Veloso.

Maraming nais magtrabaho para mabuhay pero walang trabahong mapasukan, ayon kay Misty Lorin, deputy-secretary general ng Gabriela.

“Kung anu-anong trabaho na lang ang pinapasukan gaya ng paggugupit, pagtitinda, paglilinis ng kuko, at kung anu-ano pa para lamang may mapakain sa pamilya. Lahat naghahanap at nawawalan ng trabaho sa bansa dahil na rin sa neo-liberal na mga polisiyang ipinatutupad ng gobyernong Aquino,” ayon kay Lorin.

Dahil sa kawalan ng trabaho, nasa 6,000 Pilipino ang lumalabas ng bansa para doon makipagsapalaran, ayon sa Migrante. Ganito na umano ang naging kuwento ng buhay ng maraming Pilipino na pikit-matang iniiwan ang kanilang mga pamilya para makapaghanapbuhay dayuhang bayan, ayon sa Migrante International.

“Isa lamang si Mary Jane sa maraming Pilipinong nasa bingit ng kamatayan na hindi man lamang matulungan ng mismong gobyerno ng Pilipinas. Maraming kababayan natin ang nasa kulungan, biktima ng iba’t ibang anyo ng karahasan at pang-aabuso pero wala silang makuhang tulong mula sa gobyerno,” ayon kay Sol Pillas, secretary-general ng Migrante.

Ayon naman kay Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Emmi de Jesus, hindi mga hangal ang mga migranteng Pilipino na nagnanais ng mapanganib na trabaho sa ibang bansa. Nagagawa nila ito dahil sa desperasyon na humanap ng trabaho na hindi nila makita sa Pilipinas.

Gayundin, isinusulong ng GWP ang House Bill 4396 o Regular Employment Bill para ipagbawal ang mga mapang-abusong kontrata sa paggawa sa bansa para masigurong mayroong disenteng trabaho at nakabubuhay na sahod at benepisyo ang mga Pilipino.

“Pero ang hakbang nating ito sa Kongreso ay ambag lamang. Nasa kamay pa rin ng mamamayan, nasa sama-sama nating pagkilos sa labas ng Kongreso ang ikatatagumpay para wakasan ang sistema ng kontraktuwalisasyon sa bansa,” ayon kay De Jesus.

Dagdag ni Lorin, imbes na paglikha sa pambansang industriya, pinasasahol pa umano ng gobyerno ang pribatisasyon ng mga mahahalagang industriya gaya ng kuryente, tubig, at langis na siyang naging dahilan ng pataas nang pataas na singil sa mga ito.

“Ngayong darating na buwan ng Mayo, tataas na naman ang singil sa kuryente, tubig ng Maynilad, at presyo ng langis. Mas lalo pang matindi ang epekto nito dahil limos lamang ang binibigay na dagdag-sahod sa mga manggagawa,” ayon kay Lorin.

Umaasa ang Gabriela na makikisimpatya ang mga mamamayan sa kaso ni Mary Jane dahil tiyak na may isang  OFW sa pamilya o sa kamag-anak nila at nararamdaman din nila ang epekto ng hirap ng buhay sa Pilipinas lalo na at walang trabaho sa bansa.

Makikiisa umano ang kababaihan sa kilos-protesta sa Mayo Uno, pandaigdigang araw ng mga manggagawa, para singilin ang administrasyong Aquino sa mga pag-atake at pagpapabaya nito sa mga manggagawa at mamamayan.

 

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