January 11, 2024
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. welcomed Indonesian President Joko Widodo to the Malacañan Palace on Wednesday.
Other Philippine government officials who also welcomed Widodo at the Palace included Defense Sec. Gilbert Teodoro, Foreign Sec. Enrique Manalo, Transportation Sec. Jaime Bautista, Trade Sec. Alfredo Pascual, and Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin.
Widodo is expected to sign the Palace guestbook and meet with Marcos after saying their joint statement before members of the press.
The two heads of state is anticipated to discuss several issues aimed at strengthening Manila-Jakarta relations.
Widodo arrived in the country on January 9 for an official visit until Thursday, January 11.
READ: Migrante presses Bongbong Marcos to push for Mary Jane’s freedom
Marcos earlier said he would raise the issue of Mary Jane Veloso’s clemency and freedom during his bilateral meeting with Widodo in Malacañang.
“Yes. As I have always done,” the President told the Inquirer, through Presidential Communications Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil, on Tuesday.
The Inquirer sought Marcos’ comment on the issue after migrant workers’ group Migrante International called on the President to reiterate the Philippine government’s appeal to pardon Veloso, an overseas Filipino worker on death row in Indonesia.
READ: Fate of Mary Jane Veloso on the table as Marcos, Widodo meet
In May 2023, Marcos personally asked Widodo to “reexamine” the case of Veloso, a convicted drug mule in Indonesia who was arrested after 2.6 kilograms of heroin were found in her suitcase at Yogyakarta’s Adisucipto International Airport on April 25, 2010.
In 2015, during the administration of then President Benigno S. Aquino III, the Indonesian government delayed Veloso’s execution after new evidence emerged that she was also victimized by a drug trafficking syndicate.