MANILA — A Nueva Ecija court has sentenced the recruiters of overseas Filipino worker (OFW), Mary Jane Veloso, to life imprisonment over separate large-scale illegal recruitment raps filed by three other complainants.
In her 28-page decision dated January 14, Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court Branch 88 Judge Anarica Castillo-Reyes also ordered Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao to pay PHP2-million fine.
“The prosecution… sufficiently mustered evidence to secure a guilty verdict,” Castillo-Reyes said in her ruling.
The court upheld the charges despite an affidavit of desistance by one of the three complainants, Ana Marie Gonzales, who said she is hard-pressed financially and could not attend court hearings.
“However, said private complainant (Gonzales) still affirmed her positive assertions that both accused proposed overseas employment to her,” the court said.
Sergio and Lacanilao are facing separate charges after they were positively identified as having recruited Veloso who is currently detained and included in Indonesia’s death row for smuggling heroin into the country in 2010.
Veloso’s supporters are hoping that the findings that she had been victimized by the two human traffickers to act as a drug mule would merit leniency from the Indonesian government.
Veloso’s execution by firing squad was halted in 2015 after authorities in Manila informed their counterparts in Jakarta that her recruiters had surrendered. Benjamin Pulta /PNA – northboundasia.com