Mary Jane Veloso calls on Duterte to allow her to testify against her recruiters

UNTV News   •   January 11, 2018   •   5184

MANILA, Philippines – January 10 is the 33rd birthday of Mary Jane Veloso.

Mary Jane was arrested and was sentenced to death after smuggling heroin into Indonesia in 2010.

In a recorded message, she wished for the President to allow her to testify against Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao who allegedly recruited her and tricked her to smuggle drugs.

Sergio and Lacanilao are currently facing trafficking charges.

“President Duterte, just like the case I am facing now, if you will not give me a chance to testify to reveal the truth in this case, how then will you be able to know that I am only a victim and the one who violated the law was Cristina Sergio?” Veloso said.

On December 13, 2017, the court of appeals reversed the decision of the Regional Trial Court in taking Mary Jane’s testimony in Indonesia.

However, the National Union of People’s Lawyers president,  Atty. Edre Olalia, said Mary Jane’s testimony is very vital to the case.

“Mary Jane is the victim. She is the victim of a syndicate. Why don’t you go after the syndicate? Why don’t you listen to Mary Jane? For all we know, she might provide the lead so that the syndicate will be arrested,” Olalia said.

Olalia said the Department of Foreign Affairs also did not allow Mary Jane’s family to see her on her birthday.

Meanwhile, Mary Jane’s family hopes that the President will grant their wish for Veloso.

“I know you hate drugs but my daughter was just a victim that’s why I, the whole family, appeal to you to help my daughter,” Mary Jane’s father, Cesar Veloso said. – Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue

DFA temporarily closes some passport service sites amid rising COVID cases

Robie de Guzman   •   January 10, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday announced it will be temporarily closing some of its consular offices amid increasing COVID-19 cases in the country.

In an advisory, the DFA said its Office of Consular Affairs (OCA), Consular Offices (COs) and Temporary Off-Site Passport Services (TOPS) sites will temporarily suspend operations from January 10 to 20, 2022 due to the steep rise in COVID-19 cases among their personnel.

During the temporary suspension of operations, no passport or Apostille applications will be processed or released, the DFA said.

Operations shall resume on January 21, 2022.

Kindly direct any inquiries to the Consular Office where the application was filed, the department said.

The following offices will be closed from January 10 to 20:

  • CO La Union (January 10-14)
  • CO NCR East
  • CO NCR North
  • TOPS Robinsons Novaliches

The following offices will be closed from January 12 to 20, 2022:

  • DFA Office of Consular Affairs in Aseana Business Park, Paranaque City
  • CO NCR Central
  • CO NCR Northeast
  • CO NCR South
  • CO NCR West
  • CO Antipolo
  • CO Angeles
  • CO Baguio
  • CO Dasmarinas
  • CO Iloilo
  • CO Lucena
  • CO Malolos
  • CO San Pablo
  • TOPS Newport Mall
  • TOPS Robinsons Las Pinas
  • TOPS Robinsons San Pedro Laguna
  • TOPS SM Manila
  • TOPS SM MOA
  • TOPS SM North EDSA

Affected Passport and Apostille applicants originally scheduled from January 12 to 20, 2022 at DFA Aseana are advised to refer to their new schedule of appointments posted at the DFA website.

“Please expect an email with further details about your appointment which will be sent to the email address you used when you booked your application,” the DFA said.

DFA to cancel, dispose unclaimed passports issued before December 2020

Robie de Guzman   •   December 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has announced the cancellation and disposal of all unclaimed passports that were scheduled for release before December 2020.

In a statement, the DFA said that effective January 10, 2022, unclaimed passports will be cancelled and disposed in accordance with the DFA Department Order No. 2021-012 on the disposal of unclaimed and spoiled passports.

Those who are yet to claim their passports that were schedule for release before or in December 2020 may take them until January 7, 2022 at the DFA Consular Office.

“Those who are unable to claim their passports at the respective DFA Consular Offices before January 7, 2022 must file a new passport application after securing a certificate of unclaimed passport from DFA Aseana or at the DFA Consular Office where they were processed,” the department said.

The DFA said that passports scheduled for release after December 2020 are not affected and may still be claimed from the DFA Consular Office where they were processed.

The department advised the public to claim their passports within 30 days from its scheduled release.

Applicants may authorize another person to claim the passport on their behalf “provided the authorized persons comply with the requirements indicated in the DFA website.

ICC urged to lift suspension on PH drug war probe

Maris Federez   •   November 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Petitioners against President Rodrigo Duterte will ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to reconsider its decision to suspend the investigation on the administration’s war on drugs campaign.

On November 10, Philippine Ambassador to the Netherlands Eduardo Malaya wrote to ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan to suspend the investigation, reminding the court that the Philippines has the primary responsibility and right to conduct an investigation and, eventually, prosecute all cases inside its jurisdiction.

Malaya also underscored that the country’s justice system is working.

National Union of Peoples Lawyers Chairman Atty. Neri Colmenares, however, said that the government is not serious in its efforts to investigate drug war-related killings in the country.

“There is no genuine investigation, prosecution in the Philippines at ipo-prove namin na hindi siya genuine investigation doon sa haba ng pahahon ng delay pangalawa kokonti ang imbestigahan, pangatlo si Duterte hindi iniimbestigahan at kinakasuhan,” Colmenares said.

Colmenares said the government’s anti-illegal drug operations left thousands dead after they allegedly fought against authorities.

“Kasi ang admitted na patay na dito sa Pilipinas ay 7,000 at least 7,000. So, ang sabi nga ng mga human rights groups mga 20,000 pero sige na kahit 7,000 lang napakaliit ng 52 na inimbestigahan mo para sabihin na seryosong inimbestigahan,” Colmenares insisted.

Colmenares is one of the legal counsels of the petitioners in the complaints filed before the ICC against Duterte.

He said they will send to the ICC their pleadings and will ask the court to immediately lift the suspension of the investigation.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra also urged the families of the victims who were allegedly slain during the government’s operations to directly file complaints before the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The DOJ also promised to provide legal assistance to the victims through the Public Attorneys Office and the Witness Protection Program. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Dante Amento)

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