Mary Jane Veloso is a Filipina who was allegedly conscripted by an international syndicate to smuggle drugs into Indonesia as a “drug mule.” She was arrested at the airport and subsequently tried and found guilty by an Indonesia court for drug trafficking. She was sentenced to death. The 72-hour countdown to her execution is well on its way, and will end when she faces a firing squad tomorrow, Tuesday, at 5 pm. A second, last-ditch appeal filed by lawyers on her behalf has just been denied.
With the denial of this second appeal, we at the Center for International Law believe it is now possible for the Philippines to consider an international remedy available to it. In fact, there is still time for the Philippines to take Indonesia to the International Court of Justice on the capital punishment case, following precedents in the La Grand (Gemany v. US, 2001) and Avena (Mexico v. US 2004) cases. The Philippines can ask the World Court for a provisional order to stay the execution, as Germany did in La Grand just hours before the scheduled execution in Arizona, which by the way, was granted by the ICJ. We have got nothing to lose by exploring this option. This should not be taken as mutually exclusive of diplomatic avenues.
I was interviewed on this issue this afternoon by CNN Philippines reporter David Yu Santos. And that is exactly what I pointed out to him. But the question is, will the Philippine government take up this option?