Heavenly Father, please do not forsake Mary Jane Veloso and her companions in their hour of need. As in Gethsemane You sent Your Holy Angel to comfort Your Son before His Passion, be there for them in their anguish also. Hear their prayers.
Comfort them. Comfort their families. Give them gentle counsel, O most merciful God. The forgiveness of their sins. Give them strength and courage to believe in the grace of Thy deliverance.
For Thou art God, able to produce good from any evil, and make the wild flowers grow from fields barren and accustomed to death; Who forsakes not and produces in each of us despite ourselves, the fruits of Thy ultimate and everlasting purposes, we shall pray to Thee and thank Thee for our prayers.
If today, O good and gracious LORD, Thou willed to receive them, deliver them swiftly. If today, dearest God, Thou willed to allow them to remain living here on earth with us, deliver them swiftly.
Let Thy will be done.
I am fully convinced now that Mary Jane Veloso is a victim of circumstance.
A concatenation of adverse events to which she had little to no power to reverse has her now in thrall. My hope is that sharper minds and nobler hearts can unravel the truth before it's too late.
Hope still remains that Mary Jane will not be executed... Whatever happens though - we must move to make things better over here so as not to multiply victims like Mary Jane.
20150427mon: Whether we believe in the death penalty or not, as a Country, we have an obligation to ourselves as citizens to see to it that our rights to both life and liberty receive adequate legal protection - here or anywhere in the world.
The dignity of the human person in every Filipino citizen and the prestige of the entire Philippine State are goods reciprocal: To recognize one is to recognize the other, to respect one is to respect the other.
If one believes this as I do, one should likewise realize how we contradict ourselves whenever we choose to protect one and not the other. Both bases must be covered.
We can not dictate policy for other States but we can certainly accommodate for better here at home... Some improvements will be structural to the Republic and will be gradual but the most immediate ones I can suggest are these:
Screening for high-risk OFWs - criteria to be based on Country of destination, age, gender, level of education, average overseas experience and any adverse social conditions relevant and applicable.
The screening itself will either be in questionnaire form or through an interview. This will be done before the departure date and a clearance will be required by customs at the airport.
Voluntary for all Filipinos travelling overseas - either as OFWs or tourists. Mandatory for those who are travelling to particular Countries identified in the criteria.
Set up a Citizens Defense Fund. This fund is to be drawn from sources of income already being drawn by the State - sourcing it from relevant centers of revenue - and must not be passed on to the backs of those particular class of citizens it is intended to protect - to protect the prestige of the State.
The CDF will provide the financial capacity to sustain and carry out programs and information initiatives meant to shield and empower professions identified as vulnerable or high risk - OFWs and Journalists are two that I would like identified. This until such a time as statistics change and those categories have entered levels of risk considered to be nominal or other categories have been identified and included.
As these ideas are still in their formative stages... certainly, they can be improved on in due time.