THE lawyers of the alleged illegal recruiters of Mary Jane Veloso opposed anew the taking of her deposition even as they urged that the procedure be done in the Philippines.
In their manifestation and supplement to the Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and to suspend period of time to file comments to proposed questions for deposition of Veloso filed yesterday before the sala of Nueva Ecija RTC Branch 88 Judge Anarica Castillo Reyes.
The Public Attorneys Office (PAO) which is assisting Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao in the human trafficking charges, said their rights to presumption of innocence should be protected and that “misleading media publicity, disinformation and wrongful prosecution” should be stopped.
The lawyers further said that the accused’s “basic constitutional right to confrontation and meeting the witnesses against them face to face shall be violated if the court will let itself be wrongfully used as a tool to conduct the deposition proceedings that may expose the entire judiciary into mockery of justice and judicial processes”, such that the former should be allowed to confront Veloso here in the country.
They also disclosed that then Justice secretary now Sen. Leila M. De Lima, 13 days before the scheduled execution of Veloso in Indonesia, signed and issued a memorandum last April 17 to former National Bureau of Investigation Director Virgilio Mendez ordering him to conduct an investigation into the findings and recommendations of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency for the filing of appropriate charges against those involved.
The strategy, the lawyers added, made in the past administration was to publicly “demonize both accused and tag them before the media as “illegal recruiters” despite their constitutional presumption of innocence.
The PAO also said that Sergio and Lacanilao did not “surrender,” as has been erroneously circulating on media, pointing out that the two sought police protection in view of death threats thru cellphone, Facebook account, as well as from the husband and parents of Veloso.