Duterte: Asking to save Mary Jane’s life contradicts drug war

  • President Rodrigo Duterte said begging to spare Mary Jane Veloso’s life sends a wrong message with his war on drugs
  • The President clarified that he did not give a go signal to execute Veloso
  • He pressed that he only told Indonesian President Joko Widodo to implement their laws

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, September 13, said that it would be in “bad taste” if he begged to spare the life of overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Mary Jane Veloso in the middle of his administration’s massive clampdown on drug personalities.

“It would have been a bad taste in the mouth to be talking about having a strong posture in drugs and here you are begging for something,” Duterte said in a speech at the Villamor Airbase.

He clarified, however, that what he told Indonesian President Joko Widodo is for them to “go ahead and implement [their] law.”

“I said, ‘Mr President, so as not to apologize or anything – ‘It’s good you have the death penalty here. At least you can bring the problem to the barest minimum.’ I said, ‘Go ahead and implement the law.’ We never mentioned about Veloso,” he said.

“[I just said], ‘We will respect the judgement of your courts’.”

The Philippines was in horror on Monday after news reports revealed that Duterte gave the go signal for Indonesian authorities to execute Veloso. Widodo was quoted as saying that Duterte told him to go ahead with the death row.

Malacañang denied Widodo’s claim, defending that Duterte only told his Indonesian counterpart to implement their laws.

Veloso was an OFW from Nueva Ecija that was arrested in 2010 after authorities found 2.2 kilograms of heroin in her suitcase. She ha been placed in the death row and was scheduled for execution last year. But Widodo postponed it indefinitely in the wake of a massive outcry to spare for Veloso’s life.

Meanwhile, Duterte won the elections with his strong stance against criminality – particularly illegal drug trade. Since he assumed office, there have reportedly been 3,000 drug-related deaths.