Duterte to accept Indonesia's final verdict on Veloso case

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte vowed Monday to do his best to save Filipina drug convict Mary Jane Veloso from execution, but stressed that he would abide by the Indonesian government's final verdict on her case.

"I may just have to ask Widodo in a most respectful and a very, very courteous way," the President said in a press conference before he leaves the country to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nation summits to be held in Vientiane, Laos on September 6 to 8.

Duterte, who was scheduled to go to Indonesia on September 8 to 9, said he would appeal to Indonesian President Joko Widodo to spare Veloso from the death row.

Should Widodo decide that Veloso is guilty of drug trafficking, the President said he would respect the Indonesian government's ruling and would just be thankful that "she has been treated very well."

"If my pleadings will fall on deaf ears, I am ready to accept it for the simple reason: I do not doubt the judicial system of Indonesia. I have been there once upon a time and I was able to observe how it works," the President said.

"Whether or not she's really guilty, she's found to be culpable liability. So I might just accept the system and plead for mercy. But if President Widodo will deny it, still, I would be grateful that she has been treated very well," he added.

Veloso, in a recorded phone conversation with her family, had asked Duterte to help her prove that she was innocent.

Veloso was apprehended in 2010 at an Indonesian airport, after authorities caught her with a 2.6 kilograms heroin hidden in the lining of her suitcase. Veloso, however, said that she was not aware that there were drugs inside her bag.

"I've been suffering for so long here in Indonesia, suffering even though I am innocent. You are my only hope," Veloso told the President. (Sunnex)
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