President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said Monday that his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte has given the green light for Indonesia to execute a Philippine woman currently on death row for drug trafficking.
In a statement posted on the cabinet secretary’s website, Jokowi said he had discussed the suspended execution of Mary Jane Veloso with Duterte during his visit to Indonesia on Friday, but declined to provide further details.
“President Duterte said at the time to go ahead with the execution,” Jokowi said after conducting Eid prayers in Serang, Banten province.
He said he told Duterte that Mary Jane had been caught carrying 2.6 kilograms of heroin when she was arrested at Yogyakarta’s airport in April 2010, before being sentenced to death in October the same year.
Before his visit to Indonesia, Duterte said he would ask Jokowi to grant Mary Jane leniency, however he made no reference to the case in a joint press statement after their meeting.
Mary Jane was granted a last-minute stay of execution on April 29 last year when Philippine authorities requested her testimony in an ongoing legal case in her home country after her alleged recruiter Maria Cristina Sergio and her partners were arrested.
Both Jokowi and Duterte are currently waging a war on drugs in their respective countries.
Since he took office in 2014, Jokowi’s administration has executed 18 people convicted for drug trafficking, most of whom were foreigners.
In the Philippines, 1,011 suspected drug users and dealers have been killed in police operations between July 1 and September 4, according to police statistics.
Police also recorded 1,391 deaths during the same period which are still being investigated.
Human rights activists and Indonesian representative in the Coalition for the Abolition of Death Penalty in Asean (CAPDA) urged both presidents to review the deadly measures they take on the war against drugs.
The coalition also said it rejected the judicial and extrajudicial killings in Indonesia and the Philippines.
Daniel Awigra, the Asean program manager at the Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) said both countries have set a bad example for the protection of human rights in the region.
They could also stall further promotion of human rights in Southeast Asia, where a number of Asean member states still have poor human rights records, he added.
“Indonesia and the Philippines had been the driving force for human rights promotion in Asean but these two champions have become bad examples for other countries in the region,” Daniel said.
He also said that Jokowi and Duterte could be leaving a poor moral legacy despite becoming more popular by taking these measures.
“After all, Indonesia and the Philippines are the big brothers in Asean and Indonesia has a leadership role in the bloc,” Daniel said.