After talks with Widodo, Duterte mum on Veloso's case

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday refused to spill any information about his dialogue with Indonesian President Joko Widodo regarding the case of Filipina drug convict and death row prisoner Mary Jane Veloso.

Speaking to reporters at the Davao City International Airport upon his arrival from Indonesia, Duterte confirmed that he and Widodo had discussed Veloso's case but was heedful not to give specific details about it.

"This (Veloso’s) was one of the topics of our conversation during [our meting]. Everybody was excluded and there were a lot to cover about security arrangements, including the Filipinos who are in jail, who have charges in Indonesia," the President said.

Duterte said he would first meet the family of Veloso to give them an update about the possibility that she may be spared from execution.

He added that it would be “improper” if he disclosed any details publicly.

"I'm sorry I'm not at liberty but maybe I can talk to family before anything else. It would be improper for me talking about it. There are things which I cannot divulge now," Duterte said.

Let me talk to the family first... Whether it is really Good or bad, we have to consider the feelings of the family [of Veloso]," he added.

Duterte went to Indonesia on September 8 to 9 after attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summits in Vientiane, Laos.

Prior to his state visit, the President said he was hoping that he could do something to save Veloso's life but stressed that he would respect whatever would be Widodo's decision.

"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,” Duterte said on Monday. “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 (Veloso) has been treated very well.”

In a joint statement with Widodo he delivered in Jakarta, Indonesia, Duterte said the Philippines had vowed to cooperate with Indonesia to end the drug problem in both countries. (Sunnex)
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