Death row prisioner Veloso's family prayed all night

Death row prisioner Veloso's family prayed all night
Mary Jane Veloso was spared from the execution.

CABANATUAN CITY, Philippines - In the Veloso family home here, Milagros Fiesta, 75, Veloso's grandmother, said she was praying all night with a group of sympathizers so her granddaughter would be spared from the firing squad.

Like other relatives of Mary Jane Veloso, she would burst into tears every time she heard news that the execution of Veloso and other convicts in Indonesia would push through.

But the news that greeted her on Wednesday about Veloso's reprieve revived hope that one day her granddaughter would come home.

"I'm hoping that she will be proven innocent and we will be together again," Fiesta said.

Imelda Magday, Veloso's aunt, said the delay in the execution was a ray of hope for their family. "If Mary Jane dies, it is as if her family dies with her," she said.

Rodelio "Dondon" Lanuza, a migrant worker who was spared in 2013 after sitting on death row for 13 years in Saudi Arabia, said he thanked God for the reprieve.

"As a Filipino who was saved from death row, I feel for her and her [young children]," Lanuza told the Inquirer in a text message.

He said he could imagine how Veloso felt about her imminent death by firing squad.

"When I was informed that I would be beheaded as punishment for killing a Saudi national in self-defence, I surrendered myself to God and I entrusted my life to him and I asked him to take care of my parents and siblings," he said.

After years of campaigning on social media and with help from the Philippine government, he was spared by the late King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz after being forgiven by the victim's family.

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