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Did Pres. Duterte give ‘green light’ for Mary Jane Veloso’s execution?

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Did President Rodrigo Duterte give the ‘GO’ signal to Indonesia to excute Mary Jane Veloso?   This question arose after an Indonesian news site, The Jakarta Post, reported that Veloso’s execution has been ‘finalized’ following an announcement from President Joko Widodo.

Speaking to news reporters after Eid’l Adha prayer in Serang, Banten province on Monday, President Widodo said that Duterte has ‘given the GO’ to execute Veloso, a Filipina who was put on death row after being indicted for drug trafficking, an offense punishable with death penalty in Indonesia.

According to the news site, Widodo recounted his meeting with Duterte during the latter’s state visit in Indonesia on September 9.  He confirmed talks with Duterte regarding Veloso’s case. “Saya sampaikan tentang Mary Jane dan saya bercerita bahwa Mary Jane itu membawa 2.6 kilogram heroin (I have to say about Mary Jane and I told him that Mary Jane was carrying 2.6 kilograms of heroin),” said Widodo.

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Veloso was arrested and sentenced to death for smuggling heroin into Indonesia in 2010. She denied the allegation, claiming that she was duped into carrying the suitcase by her godsister who convinced her to go to Indonesia after losing a job in Malaysia. She was spared from execution in same year after a moratorium by former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.   She was re-scheduled for execution after Widodo was elected as president, but was again spared due to public outcry and appeal from the Philippine government.

Malacanang Palace on Monday denied reports that President Duterte has authorized Indonesia to go on with Veloso’s execution.  Instead, Duterte has told Widodo during their meeting to follow their own rules and that he will not interfere with their decision.

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