Filipino-American Women Celebrate, Remains Vigilant

For Immediate Release
April 28, 2015
Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA,
#SaveMayJaneVeloso Movement Successful In Delaying Execution!

San Francisco, CA — Filipinos worldwide celebrate over a much anticipated announcement of a last minute reprieve from execution for Mary Jane Veloso, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who captured international attention and was set to be executed by firing squad in Indonesia today. The news comes after several days of mass protests, vigils, petition campaigns, and an international movement in support of Veloso, widely believed to be a victim of human and drug trafficking who has been wrongfully convicted. Veloso’s story has resonated with millions of Filipinos, especially with migrants and other OFWs who deeply understood the sacrifices Veloso made for the livelihood of her family and two young sons.

GABRIELA USA joins the international community in rejoicing that an unjust execution of an innocent mother has been avoided. “Today we celebrate the people’s victory in successfully advocating for Mary Jane Veloso’s life, in raising international awareness on a grave injustice faced by a fellow kababayan, and exerting pressure on the Indonesian and Philippine government to protect a victim of human trafficking!” says Valerie Francisco, Chairperson of GABRIELA USA. “It is the collective power of the Filipino people and international supporters that saved Mary Jane’s life, no thanks to President Noynoy Aquino, who allowed her to languish in Indonesia’s death row for five years before lifting a finger of support. This is tantamount to criminal neglect!”

GABRIELA USA has mobilized several actions and forums nation-wide for Veloso, including pickets in front of Indonesian consulates in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington DC, the Philippine consulate in San Francisco, and in front of the United Nations in New York. GABRIELA USA continues to call for Veloso’s supporters to remain vigilant. “The fight is not over,” says Francisco, “The reprieve is only temporary, and Mary Jane is still in prison. We will not rest until she is free, and goes home to her family.”

Veloso’s plight has highlighted the Aquino government’s fumblings and inaction, contributing to Veloso’s prolonged suffering. Veloso’s own family members have testified to the Department of Foreign Affairs’ slow response over the course of five years, the poor legal representation, and lackluster advocacy on behalf of Aquino himself. “Aquino continues to undermine and sabotage the future of the country and of our people, as we have seen with the Pork Barrel scandal, Mamasapano, and now with Mary Jane Veloso. It is clear that he must resign immediately, or prepare to be ousted!” says Francisco.