Filipino boxing star Manny Pacquiao has appealed to the Indonesian government to spare the life of Mary Jane Veloso, the woman from Philippines convicted of smuggling drugs and likely to be executed by a firing squad along with the 'Bali Nine' smugglers on Tuesday.
Pacquiao reportedly sent an appeal to Indonesian President Joko Widodo 'begging' for Veloso's life, through a video from Los Angeles, where he is preparing for his fight with Floyd Mayweather this Saturday at Las Vegas.
Veloso, a single mother, is among the nine death-row convicts who are likely to be executed on Tuesday night or early Wednesday. She has been convicted of smuggling 2.6kg of heroin in 2010.
In his appeal sent ahead of his much-awaited boxing match against Mayweather, Pacquiao says that it will be a 'morale booster' if he can 'save a life'.
"His Excellency, President Joko Widodo, I am Manny Pacquiao. On behalf of my countryman, Mary Jane Veloso, and the entire Filipino people, I am begging and knocking on your kind heart that Your Excellency will grant executive clemency to her by sparing her life and saving her life from execution.
Mr President, on 2 May I'll be fighting in Las Vegas, Nevada, against Floyd Mayweather. It is considered the fight of the century. It will be a great morale booster if, in my own little way, I can save a life. I am dedicating this fight to my country and the entire Asian people, to which the Phillipines and Indonesia belong. Thank you, Mr President," Pacquiao said in a video that was aired on a Phillipines news channel.
Veloso was arrested after authorities discovered heroin in the lining of the suitcase she was carrying, as per reports. She has maintained that she went to Indonesia to work as a maid but became a victim of human trafficking.
Among the other convicts are Australian 'Bali Nine' smugglers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.
Philippines President Benigno Aquino III has also made an appeal for Veloso's life to his Indonesian counterpart on Monday, which was reportedly shot down.
Almost 1.5 lakh people have supported a petition calling on Indonesia to spare Veloso.
However, with Widodo rejecting the appeal by President Benigno Aquino III, there is little hope that he will heed Pacquiao and others.