Jokowi stands by interpretation of Duterte's words on Veloso
MANILA, Philippines – Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is sticking to his interpretation that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has given the "go ahead" for Mary Jane Veloso's execution.
"President Duterte said to go ahead and process according to the laws of Indonesia. So, that means what I said yesterday is already clear," Widodo told reporters in a chance interview on Tuesday, September 13, at Tanjung Priok port.
Widodo was referring to his Monday, September 12 interview when he said he had taken Duterte's words as an approval of Veloso's execution.
Malacañang later issued a clarification on Duterte's statement. Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte did not endorse Veloso's execution and only told Widodo he "will not interfere" with Indonesian laws.
On Tuesday, Widodo said Duterte also explained his hardline stance against drugs during their meeting.
"So, I see that President Duterte’s commitment [to eradicate drugs] is very high. So, there is no tolerance. So, he said he respects the legal process in Indonesia," said Widodo.
Asked by reporters if Duterte's words are being taken as "permission" to execute Veloso, Widodo said, "You know, the legal process here is already clear. What’s wrong with you, does it still need to be explained?"
The Indonesian leader, however, expressed his respect for the judicial process in the Philippines.
"But we also see that we deeply respect the [court] process in the Philippines, because there is still indeed a process there," said Widodo.
He may have been referring to the case filed against Veloso's alleged recruiter, Maria Cristina Sergio.
Sergio surrendered to Philippine authorities in April 2015. She denies recruiting Veloso as a drug mule.
Veloso, in death row for allegedly smuggling heroin into Indonesia, claims to have been duped by Sergio into carrying drugs.
She was granted a reprieve from execution in April 2015 after a "last-minute plea" from the Philippine government who has said Veloso may have information that can help the Indonesian and Philippine governments crack down on drug syndicates. – Rappler.com