Philippines' Duterte says he didn't tell Indonesia's Jokowi to proceed with Mary Jane Veloso's execution

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (right) and the President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte speak at a joint news conference in Jakarta on Sept 9, 2016.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo (right) and the President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte speak at a joint news conference in Jakarta on Sept 9, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

MANILA - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday (Sept 12) that he did not tell his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo to proceed with the execution of convicted Filipino drug mule Mary Jane Veloso.

In a news briefing, Mr Duterte's spokesman Ernesto Abella said: "Regarding the supposed statements coming from Indonesia. The President just informed me that his actual statement and conversation with President Widodo went like this. He said regarding Mary Jane Veloso, he said, 'Follow your own laws. I will not interfere'."

Mr Abella did not elaborate.

The Jakarta Post, citing state-owned Antara News, on Monday quoted Mr Joko as having said: "President Duterte has given the go-ahead to proceed with the execution."

"I have explained to (Mr Duterte) about Mary Jane's situation, and I told him that Mary Jane (has been found guilty) for carrying 2.6kg of heroin. I also told him about the delay in the execution during the meeting," Mr Joko reportedly told Antara News.

Before he left for the Asean summit in Laos last week, Mr Duterte told reporters he would try to intercede on behalf of Veloso with Mr Joko "in a most respectful and in a very, very courteous way".

"If my pleadings will fall on deaf ears, I am ready to accept it," he said.

Mr Edre Olalia, a lawyer for Veloso, meanwhile, said: "Unless there is indubitable, A1 confirmation either way, the Veloso family and their Filipino lawyers… opt for the moment to decline to give comment until we receive official information both from the Philippine and Indonesian governments."

Migrante, a non-government group for migrant Filipinos, said Veloso's family "are in shock" and want "an immediate explanation from President Duterte and (Foreign Minister Perfecto) Yasay".

Mr Yasay was earlier quoted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer as saying Veloso had been put off death row "indefinitely".

He later explained: "This is not an urgent issue as of now. Let's finish the process. Her scheduled execution had been deferred because she would be testifying in the deposition case against her illegal recruiter."