MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) recommended the filing of charges of illegal recruitment, estafa and human trafficking against the recruiters of Mary Jane Veloso, Maria Cristina Sergio and her live-in partner, Julius Lacanilao.
The DOJ’s 18-page resolution, dated July 6, recommended the filing of charges against Sergio, Lacanilao and an alleged cohort with the alias “Ike,” for violating the Migrant Worker’s Overseas Filipino Act of 1995, the Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code or estafa, and the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.
Sergio and Lacanilao are currently detained at the Nueva Ecija Provincial Jail, while “Ike,” whom Mary Jane described as a tall and black man, is at large.
Veloso was sentenced to death in Indonesia for carrying 2.6 kilograms of heroin, which she did not know was stashed into the luggage bag lent to her by her recruiters. Her execution was stayed at dawn of April 29 to give way to the investigation and court proceedings here in the country, after her Sergio and Lacanilao sought police custody.
“Certainly good news. About time. Quite a long road to justice but we are getting there. The lull will come after this storm,” Edre Olalia, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers secretary general and lead lawyer of the Veloso family, said in a statement.
Last week, a Nueva Ecija court junked Sergio and Lacanilao’s motion to quash the illegal recruitment charges filed by three other victims.
The Indonesian government has announced that the French national, whose execution was stayed but recently lost his last-ditch appeal, might be scheduled for execution after Ramadan. Reports said a schedule of execution might be announced as Ramadan ends on July 17.
Olalia earlier said that Mary Jane is “naturally anxious about the progress of the cases in the Philippines against her remorseless and quite arrogant illegal recruiter. But otherwise she is fine and holding up.”
Sol Pillas, Migrante International secretary general, said in a statement that the fight continues until Mary Jane is permanently removed from death row.
“We have maintained at the onset that the charges against Sergio etal are solid. We celebrate this good news with Mary Jane, the Velosos, and all supporters of the #SaveMaryJane campaign around the world,” said Pillas.
She said, “It is incumbent upon the DOJ and the Philippine government to act with considerable haste and urgency, and to regularly update its counterpart, the Indonesian Attorney General’s Office, and the Veloso family, on the developments of the cases filed against Sergio et al.” (bulatlat.com)