"Time is running fast for freedom and justice"
(Or all after the events surrounding
the fate of a human trafficking victim,
and be unjustly accused as a drug trafficker)
It is been days to hear reports such as this.
As media outlets from TV, Radio, Print, as well as in the Internet, had witnessed the events surrounding the life of a Filipina that is currently imprisoned and waiting for the final decision prior to the full enactment of the sentence.
As Mary Jane Veloso, a once domestic helper at UAE, was arrested years ago in Indonesia over drug smuggling charges. A mother of two and a daughter of a farmworker at Hacienda Luisita, Veloso is a high school drop-out yet enough trying to speak, write in english via her statement in Rappler.
According to Veloso, she insists that she was framed and duped into unknowingly acting as a drug mule. By believing in her relative promising a decent work at Malaysia, she end rather Carrying 2.6 kilograms of heroin via her luggage, leading to a series of events up to her possible death through the firing squad.
That case somehow made groups like Migrante International, the National Union of Peoples Lawyers, Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and several mass organisations trying to save her life from the decision of the Indonesian courts. Several appeals calling for a review of the case, both from the concerned groups and even from the government has been given to its Indonesian counterpart, only to be turned down by the latter.
Meanwhile, the Aquino administration continues to remain aloof at the issue, if not issuing statements as if enough to support Veloso's call for her freedom. However, government's own the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency did provide info about the persons behind that drug smuggling, and somehow it includes duping people into mules on the pretense of working abroad as domestic helpers or contract workers.
Still, the Indonesian government continues to cling in its earlier statement regardless of the clamor, appeal, and basis enough for a person's reprieve, commutation, if not full, unconditional freedom. That somehow made others afford to think and say different strokes for different folks.
And although the Indonesian courts denied several appeals especially those considering her as a human trafficking victim, it does not mean it is enough to struggle for Veloso's yearning for freedom. Her statement via Rappler somehow showed her innocence amidst those who chose not to read nor listen, but instead letting the issue go away in favor of facing her fate such as the firing squad. Most of them are acting as if prosecutors so to speak, venting words like "law", "crime", "punishment" besides the familiar "move on", and "enough"; yet can't even afford to read on the other side such as from the victim's, much more about justice as not just about punishment, but also rehabilitation.
Personally, this writer, in reading posts related to the turn of events, hopes that popular action, be it in a form of statements, prayers, and pleas be answered knowing that the one imprisoned is actually a victim than a mere participator in that scheme; that President Widodo should reconsider her execution given the statements coming from the victim's camp. Why not let the government turn her into a state wittness to catch those whom turned her into a mule? They may kill those whom are being coerced to become mules, of being trafficked as such leading to their fates such as death; but how about the cartels behind those tragedies be it the victims of drug abuse and trafficking in persons? Remember, Sœkarno did sentence an American spy to death for making actions against the Indonesian state, yet he did set him free due to diplomatic pressure, and reminded not to return and disturb the peace, the "merdeka" Indonesia tries to defend with.
But as for Veloso, it would be worthy for her to live and provide further statements, aside from the existing ones, considering that she is a victim of human trafficking as said earlier, justice is not just about imposing punishment, and it is unjust to not to consider statements in which likely enough to reconsider the sentence.
Time is running fast, but this writer is one with the people calling for her freedom if not justice. Or as what congresswoman De Jesus said as well as the others:
"No to another Flor Contemplacion! Save the life, Justice for Mary Jane Veloso!"