THE Supreme Court (SC) on Friday has given convicted drug trafficker Mary Jane Veloso permission to testify against her recruiters by way of deposition in Indonesia. Veloso was arrested and convicted of smuggling drugs to Indonesia and is currently on death row there.
Ms. Veloso claimed that her recruiters, Maria Cristina P. Sergio and Julius L. Lacanilao, tricked her into smuggling heroin into Indonesia, which has strict laws against drugs.
The SC affirmed the decision of the Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court (RTC) which stated that Ms. Velosa can make the deposition by written interrogation. The SC added, “(T)he Court reinstated and affirmed with modification the ruling of the RTC and ordered that the deposition of Mary Jane be taken before the Philippine Consular Office and officials in Indonesia pursuant to the Rules of Court and principles of jurisdiction.”
The SC reasoned that its decision to allow Ms. Veloso to testify against her recruiters is only just. SC said “The Court said that to disallow the written interrogatories will curtail Mary Jane’s right to due process.”
The SC said that because of Ms. Veloso’s “unusual circumstances,” requiring her to travel to the Philippines to testify in court is not possible. A written deposition is the only mode allowed by the Indonesian government for Ms. Veloso to testify in her case in the Philippines.
Apart from human trafficking, Mr. Lacanilao and Ms. Sergio are facing charges for illegal recruitment and estafa in relation to Ms. Veloso’s case. — Gillian M. Cortez