THE CAMP OF Mary Jane F. Veloso appealed to the Supreme Court to reverse the ruling of the Court of Appeals (CA) which denied her from testifying against her traffickers via deposition through written interrogatories.
In a 37-page petition for intervention filed by Ms. Veloso’s parent’s, Celia and Cesar Veloso, with the assistance of the National Union of People’s Lawyers, said the CA should have dismissed the petition for certiorari by Ms. Veloso’s alleged recruiters, Maria Cristina P. Sergio and Julius Lacanilao, claiming that there is “grave abuse of discretion” in allowing Ms. Veloso to testify via deposition through written interrogatories.
“In this case, the fact that the Honorable Trial Judge disagree with Respondents’ arguments does not mean that the former demonstrated grave abuse of discretion,” the petition read.
The petition also claimed that the CA “gravely erred and gravely abused its discretion” as it deprived Ms. Veloso of her right to fair trial.
“To bar Mary Jane from testifying will prevent the prosecution from fully presenting their case by means of crucial material evidence, thereby denying the victim of her opportunity to finally be heard,” the petition read.
The petition also stated that there are “reasonable and compelling grounds” to allow the deposition, arguing that Ms. Veloso is the “key witness” in the case against her, as she can prove that she is a victim of human trafficking by Ms. Sergio and Mr. Lacanilao.
It also added that the prosecution of the case “is an effort to fulfill the commitment of the Philippines as a State Party to the Trafficking Protocol.”
Ms. Sergio and Mr. Lacanilao are both facing charges for human trafficking, illegal recruitment, and estafa.
Ms. Veloso was apprehended upon her arrival at Adisucipto International Airport in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where 2.6 kilograms of heroin was found in her luggage. She was sentenced to death by firing squad in 2015.
She was granted a last-minute reprieve in 2015, following then President Benigno S.C. Aquino III’s appeal to Indonesia. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas