Court sets taking of Veloso deposition

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    STO. DOMINGO, Nueva Ecija – The Regional Trial Court has set the taking of deposition of Mary Jane Veloso, a Novo Ecijana convicted and condemned to death for smuggling illegal drugs in Indonesia, on April 27, 2017.

    In a 4-page resolution dated Feb. 13 but received by Veloso’s counsel on Feb. 23, RTC Branch 88 Judge Anarica Castillo-Reyes denied the motion of Veloso’s alleged recruiters Ma. Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao to stop the deposition proceedings.

    Veloso, through her family and the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), filed cases of estafa and illegal recruitment and human trafficking against partners Sergio and Lacanilao and a certain “Ike” for allegedly victimizing her into sneaking the heroin to Indonesia in 2010.

    Reyes said in her decision that she was not aware of any temporary restraining order or any writ of preliminary injunction that would prevent the conduct of Veloso’s deposition in Indonesia. Instead, she cited the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) Circular No. 151-2010 mandating trial courts to hasten the disposition of cases of trafficking against persons.

    A deposition is the written testimony of a person who is supposed to witness in person but was unable to be present in court. Veloso, being jailed in Yogyarta prison in Indonesia, cannot testify in person.

    “This is another legal vindication for Mary Jane and the Veloso family after protracted and tedious legal wrangling over quite novel circumstance Mary Jane will be able to freely tell her whole story and cruel ordeal which will be officially considered by the Philippine trial court,” the NUPL said in a statement.

    Being the victim, the NUPL stressed, Veloso is the “most credible and competent witness that could prove not only the guilt of the accused in these Philippine cases but, eventually and more importantly, the full unabbreviated circumstances that led to her conviction in Indonesia.”

    In the deposition, Veloso is expected to answer exhaustive written questions prepared by her Filipino private lawyers, propounded to her by a Philippine consul in cooperation of Indonesian authorities.

    Reyes, state prosecutors and representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the defense are expected to observe the proceedings.

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