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DFA defends move to bar Mary Jane parents from visiting death convict in Indonesia

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The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday defended its decision to restrain the family of Mary Jane Veloso from visiting her in Indonesia noting that visigs could only be “once or twice after the conviction but not yearly.”

On Jan. 10, Mary Jane’s birthday, her parents expressed disappointment over their failure to visit their daughter in prison.

In a forum hosted by Migrante, Mary Jane’s father Cesar Veloso said: “I am sad when we heard we were not allowed to visit her. I am disheartened with that news, why can’t the government allow us to see her?”

Raul Dado, executive director for DFA-Office of Migrant Workers Affairs, said the agency was treating all death penalty cases similarly.

Citing rules on the use of the Assistance Funds, Dado said “the family has no entitlement to visit her yearly.”

“The contemplation of the visits is once or twice after the conviction but not yearly,” he said.

Dado explained that the state funds were also used for the repatriation of Filipinos in distress, shipment of remains, medical repatriation, emergency evacuation and the needs of millions of OFWs worldwide.

He added that the DFA is committed to its “equitable use” for all OFWs in need, “giving a fair chance to all.”

While Veloso’s family is not entitled to visit her annually, Dado reiterated that “the Philippine government and the DFA is still committed to giving her the best legal assistance through the generous use of the Legal Assistance Funds (LAF).”

Through LAF, the DFA continues to hire lawyer for her case, he said. (PNA)