Veloso recruiter seeks police protection

MANILA: Ma. Cristina Sergio, the alleged recruiter of Mary Jane Veloso, is seeking police protection, claiming she had been receiving death threats on her cell phone and Facebook account.

Sergio, 47, accompanied by her live-in partner, Julius Lacanilao, and his father, Ramon, showed up around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday at the Cabanatuan City police headquarters, according to Supt. Rey dela Cruz, acting provincial police director in Nueva Ecija province.

“She is willing to stay here because she feels safer inside the police camp,” Dela Cruz said, adding that consultations with the police legal division were being made to determine if she could stay at the police office.

The Talavera, Nueva Ecija, resident did not surrender, Dela Cruz said. “It’s more of a voluntary action on her part to go to the police because she said she has been receiving threats.”

Sergio was being questioned for details of the purported threats, Dela Cruz said.

There is no outstanding court warrant against Sergio, although cases of illegal recruitment, human trafficking and estafa have been filed against her in the Department of Justice. Named with her in these cases were Lacanilao and an African identified only as Ike.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Tuesday a preliminary investigation of these cases had been set for May 8 and 14.

De Lima told reporters she had discussed Veloso’s case with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) officials.

The PDEA officials had interviewed Veloso behind bars in Indonesia last March. She executed a sworn statement relating how she was recruited and who gave her the traveling bag containing 2.6 kilos of heroin that was seized from her when she arrived in Indonesia.

Veloso said she and Sergio met Ike in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. Veloso said Sergio had initially promised to find her a job as a domestic helper in Malaysia, but later sent her to Indonesia. Ike allegedly gave her the bag containing heroin.