SAN FRANCISCO – Filipino American activists are rejoicing in the news that overseas Filipino worker Mary Jane Veloso has been spared from execution.
In a statement issued to Balitang America, Gabriella USA Chairperson Valeria Francisco, PH.D. said her group joins Filipinos worldwide in celebrating the decision of President Widodo of Indonesia in delaying Mary Jane Veloso’s execution.
“We understand that this is the will of Filipinos in the U.S. that rallied in front of the UN prompting the president of the UN to denounce capital punishment. It was in the streets of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle where round the clock demonstrations were held by Filipinos,” Francisco’s statement read.
“Aquino’s intervention in saving Mary Jane Veloso’s life was too little too late. The real force that saved Mary Jane Veloso’s life was the hundreds of thousands of people across the Philippines, across the US, across the world that lit candles and demanded justice for her life,” her statement concluded.
Yesterday in San Francisco, Filipino American activists spent the entire day rallying at the Indonesian consulate, then the Philippine consulate, and finally at Union Square to let the public know of her injustice.
“It is a huge victory for our community because we see that these folks who go abroad they only want to go abroad to ensure better lives and opportunities for their families,” said Patrick Racela, the head coordinator of the Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavor (PACE).
“I think it will mean the recognition of Filipino migrant workers, especially women, who are forced to leave the country,” said Melissa Reyes of Gabriella USA. “There are almost 6,000 Filipinos who leave every day.”
In a last ditch effort President Benigno Aquino III appealed to the Indonesian foreign minister that Veloso can serve as a witness against drug syndicates.
“We presented to Indonesia the opportunity also that she is cooperating we might be able to uncover this drug syndicate that was behind her predicament,” said Aquino.
These activists say that it was not through the president’s actions but rather through the pressure of the people that made Veloso’s recruiter turn herself in and thus prompt the delay in execution.
They continue to say that despite an upcoming presidential election, it will be up to the people to ensure justice.
“We must be vigilant in whoever comes into power next to really ensure that OFWs and migrants are protected,” said Racela.
Despite mounting international condemnation led by the United Nations, Indonesia President Joko Widodo believes that the executions of the eight other convicts were necessary due to the rising drug emergency in his country.
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