Less than a month ago, I flew from the Philippines to Malaysia to Indonesia and had the time of my life.
Five years ago, a Filipina girl in her mid-20’s flew from the Philippines to Malaysia to Indonesia, and today that trip will cost her her life.
Mary Jane Veloso, a mother of two, struggling to support her children after her husband left them, flew to Kuala Lumpur in 2010 to start a job as a maid, work offered to her by a certain Christine, a neighbor in the Philippines. The neighbor gave her a brand-new suitcase and $500 pocket money. However, when she arrived in KL, the job was apparently no longer available, and Christine advised her to fly on to Yogyakarta. Upon arrival in the airport at Yogyakarta, packs of heroin were found in the lining of the suitcase. Mary Jane was sentenced to death, and today, after numerous legal and humanitarian appeals, she faces the Indonesian firing squad.
Drugs have ruined the lives of many members of my family, and I would be the last person to feel sympathy for anyone selling or helping to sell drugs.
But this is different. If there is anything Mary Jane is guilty of, it’s ignorance. She was ignorant enough to travel with a suitcase that wasn’t hers. Many of us know never to accept bags from strangers, but she was a poor young girl who didn’t even finish high school, and the bag was given to her by a neighbor whom she trusted. Why the Indonesian government is not considering these extenuating circumstances, I don’t know, but as of the time I’m writing this, the execution is on.
This is the world we live in.
Update 29 Apr 2015
Good news!!! Indonesia delayed the execution of Mary Jane Veloso at the last minute, after her recruiter surrendered to authorities in the Philippines. Tears in my eyes right now.