President Aquino breaks protocol to make Mary Jane stay

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima informed President Aquino and Cabinet members who were attending a regional leaders meeting in Malaysia about the surrender of Mary Jane’s alleged recruiter Maria Kristina Sergio hours prior to execution. Aquino then decided to make a final appeal for Mary Jane to stay.

“The normal protocol is – to set up a conversation between the two presidents – is the minister of foreign affairs talks to the other minister of foreign affairs, they discuss, they agree then the call between the two presidents is arranged,” Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras said in a press briefing as quoted by

However, Aquino insisted to talk to Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, breaking protocol. “And it was the President himself who talked to the Indonesian foreign minister. The Indonesian foreign minister was quite surprised because normally that’s not been done but when the President did that, she promised, ‘Yes, Mr. President, I will immediately relay your message to both the president and to whoever else needs to know in Jakarta,’” Secretary Almendras said.

Indonesian Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo said, after Veloso was pulled out of death row, “there was an official request submitted to the (Indonesian) president and president responded to the request. We gave the Philippines government some time to reveal the truth of human trafficking crime.”

Veloso, as a state witness, will provide testimony against her alleged recruiter. “That’s why we postponed it as we respected the ongoing legal process in the Philippines,” Prasetyo said.