AN OPEN LETTER TO PRES. JOKO WIDODO
I am writing as one of the many voices who are appealing for clemency of Filipina worker Mary
Jane Veloso, who was convicted for drug trafficking in your country.
To be clear, I am asking for her clemency not because she is my fellow Filipino. Justice knows no
nationality. However, true justice, that is, social justice or pancasila favors the victim, the oppressed.
In the case of Ms. Veloso, who was arrested and eventually convicted for having packets of illegal
drugs weighing 2.6 kilograms in her luggage, she is the victim in the intricate underworld of drug
What is 2.6 kilograms of illegal drugs, which she purportedly was ordered to sell, compared to the
tons of illegal drugs marketed by huge drug cartels in Southeast Asia? What is a small fry like
Ms. Veloso compared to the big bosses of the cartels? If there is anything clear in her ordeal,
whether or not she was just “framed up” by some drug syndicates without her knowledge, she is
the victim in this story. Assuming that Ms. Veloso indeed was into the business of drug trafficking,
she is all but an errand girl following orders from cartel bosses. The question is: does she deserve
the penalty of death?
Social justice, as espoused in pancasila, is to defend the oppressed from the oppressors. Just as how
your predecessor, the freedom fighter Sukarno, gallantly fought to free the Indonesian people from
the colonialist Dutch, you are assigned by your people to continue his fight for freedom, that is,
freedom for the working masses, the oppressed classes, from exploitation. Even if she is not your
compatriot, Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipina worker, is part of the oppressed people working hard for
the survival of her family and children. Since you are an ardent follower of pancasila, I respectfully
appeal for your understanding of her plight, and to hunt down the bosses of the cartel that used her
as bait to the authorities.
To combat illegal drugs, we have to go directly to its source and expedite justice by dismantling its
core. The bosses of the cartels use their money, influence, and political connections to continue their
illicit trade. They go on the loose scot-free, protected by corrupt politicians, defended by their private
armies, while their petty couriers are the ones who bear the brunt of the State.
Again, dear President Widodo, I encourage you to free Mary Jane Veloso, not just because of mercy,
not just because of humanitarian reason, but because it is the right thing to do in line with pancasila.
Let us help small drug couriers and drug users by rehabilitating them so they can live a decent life.
And in the fight against illegal drugs, let us valiantly fight against the powerful cartel bosses. They are
our common enemies, not a poor worker like Mary Jane Veloso. In doing so, you have my one hundred
per cent support, even if we are miles away from each other.
With this humble persuasion, the Party of the Labouring Masses (Philippines) through me respectfully
submit this open letter.
National Council Member
Party of the Labouring Masses (PLM)
Quezon City, Philippines
24 April 2015