Veloso family continues to experience harassment

May 29, 2015

Mary Jane's sisters (from left) Darling and Maritess, who were both at the prison island of Nusa Kambangan during the evening of April 28. KR Guda

Mary Jane’s sisters (from left) Darling and Maritess. KR Guda

The immediate family of Mary Jane Veloso complained of harassment by three unidentified men who came to look for the house of Celia Veloso in Cabanatuan City on May 24.

According to Darling Veloso (Mary Jane’s sister), the unidentified men said they wanted to help in Mary Jane’s case because they felt that it was moving too slow. The three men then took pictures of the house and promptly left.

“When they left, we noticed that our dog guarding the house was missing. So we were concerned,” Darling said.

The guard dog, she said, “returned” to their house at around 12 midnight.

The Velosos immediately reported the incident to the barangay and had it recorded in the local police blotter.

Cesar Veloso (Mary Jane’s father), who is currently in Manila to attend the preliminary investigation for the cases versus Kristina “Tintin” Sergio et al at the Department of Justice (DOJ), personally called local police to seek protection for the family.

Celia Veloso (left). KR Guda

Celia Veloso (left). KR Guda

This incident came after Darling got a suspicious call from an unidentified man on May 7. The mysterious caller had asked for the whereabouts of Maritess, Mary Jane’s other sister. Because the caller refused to identify himself, Darling became suspicious and declined to answer.

“The caller hung up after I asked him his name,” she said.

Darling said that she feared for Maritess’ safety who was then on her way to Manila for the May 8 preliminary investigation at the DOJ. Maritess, meanwhile, immediately reported the incident to their Philippine private lawyers at the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL).

These incidents were not the first time that the Velosos reportedly experienced harassment.

In their sworn statements, Nanay Celia, Tatay Cesar and Maritess said that mysterious vans and motorcycle-riding men have been frequenting their community, asking townsfolk where they lived.

“When our neighbors tell them where we live, they didn’t go to our house. Mary Jane’s father could not sleep. He guards over the house every night. We worry about the safety of our grandchildren,” Nanay Celia said.

According to Migrante International Deputy Secretary-General Mic Catuira, these incidents of harassment need urgent attention and investigation by Philippine authorities.

“Obviously, Mary Jane’s case is a high-profile case possibly involving big drug and trafficking syndicates. The Veloso family has every right and reason to raise the alarm and seek protection. There is an apparent intent by mysterious entities to scare or silence the Velosos who have been consistent in asserting Mary Jane’s innocence, a fact that even Sergio et al had belatedly affirmed in their respective sworn statements,” according to Migrante.

“Whatever harassment they do to our family, they cannot stop us in fighting for Mary Jane,” Maritess said.