Mother of two spared from Indonesia execution; Eight others executed

​Upon hearing that their mum, Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, had been spared from execution at the 11th hour, the two young boys yelled: "Yes, yes mama will live."

Amid global anger, Indonesia executed eight other foreign drug convicts by firing squad.

Veloso was meant to be executed until President Joko Widodo, who has been facing strong international pressure, decided to postpone her execution amidst new evidence at the last minute - to the relief of Veloso's family members.

Her family had previously visited the execution island, Nusa Kambangan, to say their goodbyes.

Veloso even had a message for her two boys, which she asked her sister to deliver.


Fortunately, a request sent by the Philippines government for a stay of execution was granted.

Activists react outside the Indonesian embassy in Makati after Veloso's reprieve is granted. PHOTO: Reuters

Veloso had maintained, since her arrest, that she was duped into smuggling 2.6kg of heroin into Indonesia.

A woman, Maria Kristina Sergio, surrendered herself to the Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Office in the Philippines on Tuesday morning (April 28). 

She is the woman that Veloso's family said offered the latter a job as a maid in Malaysia in 2010 - and sweetened the deal with incentives like money, a motorcycle and a mobile phone.

When the pair arrived in Malaysia, Veloso was told that that the job was not available anymore. But Veloso was reassured that there was a position in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. 

Sergio introduced Veloso to two men in Malaysia, both of whom bought her a new bag and gave her some money.

Veloso had asked Sergio why the bag seemed so heavy - but Sergio reassured her that it was only because it was a new bag.

However at the Yogyakarta airport, her luggage set off an alarm, and 2.6kg of heroin was wrapped in aluminium foil and sewn into the lining of her luggage. 


While the reprieve is temporary, Veloso's family is not giving up hope.

Mum Celia Veloso told Philippine radio station DZMM: 

"Miracles do come true. We are so happy, I can't believe it. I can't believe my child will live.

We had no more. My other children were already in the island waiting to pick up her body.

We are all so happy. Her kids were all awake, yelling 'Yes, yes, mama will live!'

I will tell her it is true what she said: If god wants you to live, as long as there is a minute left, he will save you."


Meanwhile, there has been widespread anger directed at President Widodo especially following the execution of two Australians, Myura Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.

Michael Chan, who is Chan's brother, tweeted about the loss of his brother to a "flawed Indonesian legal system".



Steven Ciobo, Liberal MP and parliamentary secretary to Julie Bishop, the minister for foreign affairs, condemned the executions.



The Australians' Indonesian lawyer Todong Mulya Lubis apologised for failing in his mission to save the men from the death penalty.





Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has responded by recalling its ambassador from Indonesia. 

Abbott said: "We respect Indonesia's sovereignty but we do deplore what's been done and this cannot be simply business as usual.

"For that reason, once all the courtesies have been extended to the Chan and Sukumaran families, our ambassador will be withdrawn for consultations."

An online campaign calling for Australians to boycott Bali and Indonesia, which are popular holiday destinations, has also gained popularity on social media following the executions. 

More than a million Australians visit Indonesia each year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.



Related report: The road to redemption for the two 'Bali Nine' men set to be executed soon