Want proof that PNoy didn’t help Veloso?
LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “…When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers…” (Proverbs 21:15, the Holy Bible0.
WANT PROOF THAT PNOY DIDN’T HELP VELOSO? READ ON: Assistant Foreign Affairs Secretary Charles Jose may not have been aware of it, but in an early morning interview with a broadcaster on Tuesday, 28 April 2015, he unwittingly provided one solid proof that the Aquino government and its leaders didn’t do anything substantial to help Mary Jane Veloso while she was being tried on drug charges in Indonesia.
Jose told the broadcaster, in a voice loud and clear for everyone in the whole world to hear, that no private lawyer was provided to Veloso by the government of President Aquino at any time during her trial, which prompted the Indonesian court trying her case to appoint a government lawyer to handle her defense.
FREE LEGAL AID LAWYER HANDLED VELOSO’S DEFENSE: Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against any government lawyer. As exemplified by our very own government lawyers from the Public Attorneys’ Office, government lawyers in Indonesia are similarly diligent, intelligent, and zealous, in discharging their work as free legal aid counsel.
I know, because by the grace of God, I happened to have met some of them, in the course of my work as a private counsel, and when I was a part of the public relations team from Rotary International Philippines.
But, like any other government lawyers in the world, those in Indonesia, I am sure, are similarly burdened with big number of cases which make their work extremely difficult to discharge. I am also sure that the many limitations of being a public defender also placed serious challenges in defending clients, whether they be fellow Indonesians or, as in the case of Veloso, of foreign descent.
WAS P100 M OFW LEGAL FUND USED TO HELP VELOSO? That notwithstanding, the bigger issue in the disclosures made by Jose is this: it is undeniable that the Philippines has a P100 million budget a year for the legal defense of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) facing court cases starting 2015, and P30 million a year before that. Was this P100 million fund ever used for Veloso?
The answer would seem to be no, if I am to believe Sen. Nancy Binay who disclosed that President Aquino actually made it greatly difficult for even a centavo of that P100 million legal defense fund to be disbursed for OFWs facing criminal charges overseas, by directing that the fund be placed under the control of the Department of Budget and Management, instead of under the control of the Department of Foreign Affairs, as it was in the past.
It would seem now, from hindsight, that, if only Aquino did not transfer the control of the P100 million legal defense fund from the DFA to the DBM, and if only he did not impose more stringent requirements for the funds’ release, Veloso could have been given private lawyers who could have devoted more attention to her case. Who knows, she may still be a free woman today!
MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON US: But, that is how the cookie crumbles, unfortunately. I couldn’t help thinking that somehow, somewhere, Veloso may have been used to show to all Filipinos how simple policy changes, made by officials whose hearts beat for interests other than the welfare of their constituents, can spell life or death for the poor, the hapless, and the uninfluential. May God have mercy on us all!
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