The Info List - Mary Jane Veloso

Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso is a Filipino woman who was arrested and sentenced to death for smuggling heroin into Indonesia. Her case, among others, sparked international attention towards Indonesia's capital punishment and drug prohibition laws.


Veloso was born in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija. She is the youngest of five siblings.[3] She and her husband married when she was around 17 years old but they later separated. They have two sons.[4] Prior to her arrest, in 2009, Veloso worked in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates for about six months. Her father said that she left her job because her employer attempted to rape her.[5]


Veloso was arrested in Indonesia in April 2010 for smuggling 2.6 kilograms (5.7 lb) of heroin in a suitcase.[6] Throughout her trial, she maintained her innocence, 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.[7][8]

Veloso was sentenced to death in October 2010 but was spared due to a moratorium on capital punishment enacted by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. She was again scheduled to be executed in January 2015 after the election of Joko Widodo as President of Indonesia.[9]

She was scheduled to be executed in Nusa Kambangan together with the Bali Nine duo from Australia, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran; Brazilian Rodrigo Gularte; an Indonesian and four Nigerians at 1:00 AM WIB (2:00 AM PHT) on 29 April 2015.[10]

At midnight on 29 April 2015, Veloso was granted a stay of execution so she could act as a witness during the trial of her alleged human trafficker.[11] News of the reprieve came so close to the scheduled time of her execution that several news outlets reported erroneously that it had occurred. The front page headline on one newspaper read "Death Came Before Dawn".[12] She was reprieved after reports that her trafficker had surrendered to the police, which had prompted Philippines President Benigno Aquino III to make a final appeal for clemency on the basis that her testimony could be invaluable in the prosecuting her alleged recruiter.[13] Veloso's alleged trafficker Maria Kristina Sergio, along with Sergio's live-in partner Julius Lacanilao and an African national tentatively identified as "Ike", will face charges of human trafficking, illegal recruiting and estafa (fraud).[14] Her mother believes Veloso was spared by a 'miracle';[15] the other eight prisoners scheduled for execution alongside her were executed by firing squad early on the morning of 29 April.[16]

According to The Jakarta Post, on 12 September 2016, Indonesia President Joko Widodo reported that Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte had authorized Veloso's execution.[17][18] However, on the same day, a Manila Bulletin article said that Manny Piñol, the Philippines Agriculture Secretary, said that Duterte actually asked for clemency for Veloso.[19]

Mary Jane Veloso was still awaiting execution in her Indonesian prison cell on 19 June 2017.[20] In August 2016, motions were heard to depose her testimony regarding the human trafficking charges against Maria Kristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao.The motion was granted, but no time was set for when the deposition was to occur. Judge Reyes denied a defense motion in November to block the deposition, stating she found no compelling reason to reverse her decision.[21] On 13 February 2017, the Hon. Anarica J. Castillo-Reyes affirmed the motion to take Veloso's deposition. The reolution scheduled the deposition to be done on 27 April 2017.[22] The Court of Appeals ordered a temporary restraining order (RTO) on 24 March, preventing the prosecutor from interviewing Veloso.[23] Associate Justice Ramon M. Bato Jr., on behalf of the Court of Appeals, issued a proclamation on 22 May finding in favor of the defense motion that disallowed taking Veloso's deposition,because it was claiming that it violated the plaintiffs' right to face their accuser.[24]

On 16 June 2017, the Veloso family filed a motion for reconsideration through the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers, asking the Court of Appeals to rescind the order preventing the prosecutor from deposing Mary Jane Veloso at the Yogyakarta prison. The family's argument for the motion was that Veloso may run out of time and be executed before she could testify. The motion stated, "No damage can be irreparable as what Mary Jane stands to suffer — to be muzzled before she is silenced forever, to die without ever being heard.”[20]


She has been compared to Flor Contemplacion and Sarah Balabagan due to their backgrounds as expatriate maids with death sentences.[25]

Veloso's case gained support in Indonesia and internationally after her appeals for clemency were rejected.[26]

Notable Indonesians who supported her included chef Rahung Nasution,[27] French-Indonesian singer Anggun,[28] Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo,[29] and maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih.[30] Supporters in Veloso's home country of the Philippines included boxer Manny Pacquiao,[31] who even visited her at her Yogyakarta prison,[32] migrant and human rights organizations. Internationally, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former East Timor President José Ramos-Horta, British tycoon Richard Branson, English musician Tony Iommi and American author Eve Ensler[33] spoke publicly in support of Veloso.

The petition to have her released in Change.org was the fastest-growing petition from the Philippines ever and gained over 250,000 signatories from over 125 countries.[34] On 27 April 2015, during the ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur, representatives from the ASEAN Youth Forum (AYF) met with Widodo in an attempt to save Veloso's life.[35]


  1. ^ "Philippine press caught out by last-minute execution reprieve for Mary Jane Veloso". The Guardian. Agence France-Presse. 29 April 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  2. ^ "Veloso family on Mary Jane's birthday: We want her home". Rappler. 11 January 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
  3. ^ "FAST FACTS: The case of Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso". Rappler. 
  4. ^ Lindsay Murdoch (28 April 2015). "Bali nine case: Boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao plead for Filipina Mary Jane Veloso's life". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  5. ^ Joel Guinto, Agence France-Presse (8 April 2015). "Family of Mary Jane Veloso begs Indonesia for her life". GMA News Online. 
  6. ^ "The inmates executed or spared by Indonesia". BBC News. 29 April 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  7. ^ Torres-Tupas, Tetch (27 April 2015). "NBI recommends prosecution of Veloso's recruiters". Inquirer News. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  8. ^ Bernal, Buena (2 April 2015). "The fate of Mary Jane Veloso". Rappler. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  9. ^ "UN chief to Indonesia: Spare Filipino, other prisoners". philstar.com. Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  10. ^ Yenni Kwok (24 April 2015). "Philippines: Death-Row Inmate #MaryJane Trending in Indonesia". TIME.com. 
  11. ^ Regan, Helen (29 April 2015). "Indonesia's Reprieve of Mary Jane Veloso Prompts Widespread Relief". Time. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  12. ^ Holmes, Oliver (28 April 2016). "Mary Jane Veloso: what happened to the woman who escaped execution in Indonesia?". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Archived from the original on 29 April 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2017. 
  13. ^ Navarro, Louie (29 April 2015). "Veloso's execution suspended". CNN Philippines. CNN Philippines, Reuters. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  14. ^ "Mary Jane back in prison, to testify vs recruiter – DFA". ABS CBN News. ABS CBN News. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  15. ^ "Mother of death row Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, supporters hail 'miracle' reprieve". Manila: The Strait Times. Agence France-Presse. 29 April 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  16. ^ "Indonesia executes 8 drug smugglers by firing squad". CNN Philippines. CNN. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  17. ^ "Duterte gave 'go-ahead' for Mary Jane Veloso's execution –report". gmanetwork.com. GMA Network. Retrieved 12 September 2016. 
  18. ^ "Duterte has given the green light for Mary Jane's execution: Jokowi". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 12 September 2016. 
  19. ^ http://www.mb.com.ph/pinol-duterte-asked-for-clemency-on-veloso-case/
  20. ^ a b Staff Writers (19 June 2017). "Veloso family asks CA to allow Mary Jane's deposition". The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Inquirer.net. Archived from the original on 18 June 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2017. 
  21. ^ Staff Writers (12 November 2016). "Court allows Veloso Deposition". The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Inquirer.net. Archived from the original on 29 June 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  22. ^ Corrales, Nestor (25 February 2017). "Motion to take Veloso testimony granted". The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Inquirer.net. Archived from the original on 1 March 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2017. 
  23. ^ Torres-Tupas, Tetch (27 March 2017). "CA stops local court from taking Mary Jane Veloso's deposition". The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Inquirer.net. Archived from the original on 4 April 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2017. 
  24. ^ Torres-Tupas, Tetch (24 May 2017). "CA stops Nueva Ecija court from taking deposition of Mary Jane Veloso". The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Inquirer.net. Archived from the original on 24 May 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2017. 
  25. ^ Nicole Curato (28 April 2015). "An endless funeral". rappler.com. Rappler. Retrieved 12 September 2016. 
  26. ^ "Supporters claim Mary Jane Veloso is victim of human trafficking". NewsComAu. 29 April 2015. 
  27. ^ "Indonesian celebrities, netizens decry looming execution of Veloso". inquirer.net. 
  28. ^ "Pacquiao pleads for Indonesia to spare death row Filipina". thenational.ae. 
  29. ^ "Indonesia, the haste of capital punishment worries the Church". vaticaninsider.lastampa.it. 
  30. ^ Yenni Kwok (27 April 2015). "Indonesia Set to Execute Foreign Drug Smugglers Early Wednesday". TIME.com. 
  31. ^ "Pacquiao begs Indonesian leader: Save Mary Jane". Rappler. 
  32. ^ Kwok, Yenni (10 July 2015). "Boxing Icon Manny Pacquiao Visits Filipina Death-Row Convict Mary Jane Veloso". Time. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  33. ^ "'Vagina Monologues' author to Widodo: Treat Mary Jane NOT as a criminal but a victim". InterAksyon.com. 
  34. ^ "#SaveMaryJane among most signed Change.org petitions". Rappler. 
  35. ^ "ASEAN youth to Jokowi: #SaveMaryJane". Rappler. 27 April 2015.