Mary Jane Veloso’s family name used to raise funds, gets nothing in return

Nov 17, 2017 | Drugs Victim, GMA, News

Unknown persons have used the Veloso family’s name supposedly to raise funds for a trip to visit Mary Jane in Indonesia without the family’s prior knowledge or consent.

On Friday, Celia Veloso, the mother of the convicted migrant, said that their name had supposedly been used for a collection drive held on the anniversary of her daughter’s stay from execution at the premises of the municipal hall of Talavera, Nueva Ecija.

“Hindi namin alam (kung sino nanghingi). Nalaman ko lang sa balae ko, biyenan ni Mary Jane, sa city hall sa Talavera, nasabi daw. ‘Aling Tessie, may pumunta po dito na humingi ng tulong, pamasahe daw ng pamilya Veloso’, kaya namin nalaman,” Mrs. Veloso said.

“Hindi naman kami humihingi, pero nagbigay ang city hall ng pera, ng pamasahe daw ng Pamilya Veloso,” she said. “Hindi naman kami umaalis eh… Baka ang alam naman ng mga tao, baka dadalaw kami, pero hindi ho nakakarating sa amin.”

Veloso was spared from execution on April 28, 2015, half a decade after she was convicted for smuggling heroin into Indonesia.

For the past two years, her family has tried to get Maria Kristina Sergio, the person who allegedly gave her the bag that contained the heroin, and Sergio’s partner, Julius Lacanilao, convicted to set her free but multiple petitions prevented the case from moving on.

Aside from a lack of progress on the case, the Veloso family continues to endure financial hardship.

In addition to working through disease, Mrs. Veloso said they do not receive any of the supposed funds pledged to them by public or private donors and stopped receiving aid once the three inmates who helped Mary Jane were released from jail.

She said they received about P5,000 from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and four separate allowances to buy medicines that she and her husband need.

They, however, do not receive aid from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) despite fulfilling some of the conditions listed under the conditional cash transfer program.

Mary Jane had also recovered from a skin disease her entire cell suffered from last year only to develop a condition that caused her to collapse on June 21.

“Hirap siyang tumayo at lumakad. Siguro nalamigan siguro yung paa kasi nakikilabada nga,” Mrs. Veloso said. “Humiling siya sa Philippine Embassy na puwede po bang pagamot ninyo po ako sa labas kasi hindi nakikita dito sa loob. Ang sabi daw ng Philippine Embassy doon, ipapaalam namin sa taas.”

Mary Jane’s eldest son also continues to suffer from his mother’s incarceration.

“Mula po nung nakulong si Mary Jane, malaki po apekto sa nanay. Lalo na pong Grade 10 na po siya, nasisira po yung pagaaral kasi pag pumasok po, tinutukso po ng ka-eskwela. Kriminal daw po nanay niya, bibitayin na. Kaya po laging napapa-trouble,” she said.

The family hoped that President Rodrigo Duterte would bring up Veloso’s predicament to Indonesian President Joko Widodo during the 31st ASEAN Leaders Summit and Related Meetings, but had their hopes dashed.

“Magtatatlong taon na pong na-postpone sa pagkakabitay si Mary Jane, eh ala pa rin po. ‘Di pa rin po namin alam kung anong kahihinatnan niya, kung anong mangyayari sa kasong pinaglalaban namin,” Mrs. Veloso said.

“Ang kinatatakot ko lang po, may sakit na po ako tsaka yung tatay niya. ‘Di ko po hawak buhay ko; sana naman bago ako kunin ng Panginoon, makauwi na si Mary Jane para may mag-alaga sa dalawang anak niya.”

GMA News Online called Talavera’s mayor’s office for details. The officer on duty said the office received a letter mentioning a collection in the past year and promised that they will search for it over the weekend.

The officer added they have also received a request from the Velosos for financial aid in the past. — RSJ, GMA News

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