Philippine President Aquino to appeal for life of Filipina due to be executed in Indonesia

MANILA (AFP) - The Philippine President said on Sunday he would appeal for mercy for a Filipina who is due to be executed in Indonesia in two days' time.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino said he would take the opportunity to seek clemency for Mary Jane Veloso, who is due to be put to death on Tuesday, while in Malaysia for a regional summit on Monday. "Once I am there, I will try to speak to President Joko Widodo of Indonesia to appeal once more for her case," Mr Aquino said.

Veloso, 30, a single mother of two young boys, is among eight foreigners who are due to face the firing squad in the high-security Indonesian prison island of Nusakambangan.

She was arrested in 2009 with 2.6kg of heroin sewn into the lining of her suitcase but insists she went to Indonesia for a job as a maid and was duped by an international drug syndicate.

Philippine Vice-President Jejomar Binay made an appeal for Veloso during a visit to Indonesia last week.

The Philippines has sought to have a second judicial review of her case, citing evidence that she was a human trafficking victim, not a drug smuggler.

But this weekend, Veloso's lawyer said she had been informed that she would be put to death on April 28.

The Philippine government has said it is not losing hope and activist groups intend to stage protests for her.

Indonesia has some of the toughest anti-drugs laws in the world. In January, Jakarta executed six drug convicts, including five foreigners, sparking international outrage.

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