The shock reprieve for a woman due to be executed alongside Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan last night was too last-minute for newspapers in the Philippines to catch up.
Mary Jane Veloso was given a stay of execution just hours before she was due to face a firing squad alongside eight other prisoners on the feared Nusakambangan Island.
Successive appeals and diplomatic efforts had already failed and after vows from Indonesian officials that the death sentences would be carried out, the 30-year-old’s prospects looked bleak.
After weeks of protests in the Philippines, people woke up this morning to a headline reading “Farewell, Mary Jane” on the black front page of Manila’s best-selling Filipino-language tabloid, Abante, according to a translation by AFP.
“All hopes fade” said the Manila Times, and the Manila Bulletin used separate headlines on successive editions saying “We’re hoping for a miracle” and “No delay in execution”.
The latest, correct, edition read: “Veloso granted reprieve”.
Other newspapers hit out at the government for failing to save Veloso and condemned Indonesia’s legal process.
“Death Came Before Dawn” was the headline on the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s front page.
It featured a large photo of the smiling mother-of-two, saying “only a miracle” could have saved her.
That miracle came in the form of Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo, who said that the arrest of the woman who allegedly used her as a drug mule required her to be kept alive for evidence.
“This delay did not cancel the execution. We just want to give chance in relation with the legal process in the Philippines,” he said.
The woman who reportedly recruited Veloso, Maria Kristina Sergio, had surrendered to police in the Philippines on Monday, Deputy Police Director-General Leonardo Espina said.
Bali Nine pair executed
Bali Nine pair executed
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People attend a vigil for the prisoners to be executed in Indonesia at Martin Place on April 28
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Crosses for condemned drug convicts (from L-R) Australians Andrew Chan (L) and Myuran Sukumaran (C), and Nigerian Okwudili Oyatanze
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Brintha Sukumaran, a sister of Australian death row prisoner Myuran Sukumaran's screams as she arrives to see him for a final time
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Brintha Sukumaran, the sister of Myuran Sukumaran, cries during her final visit to see him in prison on 28 April
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Michael Chan, brother of Australian drug convict and death row prisoner Andrew Chan, arrives at Nusakambangan island on 28 April
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The back of a painting by Australian death-row prisoner Myuran Sukumaran is shown, signed by the eight other condemned people
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A lawyer carries a painting by Myuran Sukumaran at Wijayapura port in Cilacap on 28 April
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A woman places a tribute on a flower wall that reads '#keephopealive' as part of an Amnesty international vigil for the pair
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People at a vigil in Sydney on 27 April against the execution of Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran
Amnesty International/Sitthixay Ditthavong.
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Activists hold a banner during a protest in front of the Indonesian embassy in Manila on April 27, 2015
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The lawyer for Australian death row inmates Myuran Sukumaran carries a painting after visiting Indonesia's Nusakambangan island on April 26
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A lawyer carries a self-portrait drawn by Myuran Sukumaran after visiting the prison island of Nusakambangan on 27 April
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Workers load coffins into a lorry ahead of the execution of nine prisoners in Indonesia
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Indonesian soldiers stand as guard at Wijayapura port near the prison island of Nusa Kambangan on Monday
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Chintu Sukumaran (L), brother of Myuran Sukumaran, stands next to Michael Chan, brother of Andrew Chan in Indonesia on 26 April, 2015
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Raji Sukumaran (R) and Brintha Sukumaran (L) family members of death-row prisoner Myuran Sukumaran cries as they talks to media after visiting Myuran at Kerobokan Prison in Bali, Indonesia
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Indonesian police stand guard as the Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran arrive at Wijaya Pura Port where they will be transferred to Nusa Kambangan prison ahead of their execution in Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia
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Halen Chan, the mother of death-row prisoner Andrew Chan, wipes away tears during a press conference in Jakarta, Indonesia
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Andrew Chan, right, and Myuran Sukumaran, centre, talking to their lawyer
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Two Australian drug traffickers Andrew Chan (L) and Myuran Sukumaran (R) were sentenced as the ringleaders of the "Bali Nine" drug ring in 2006
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
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Myuran Sukumaran is due to be executed
Veloso was arrested in 2010 at the airport in the central Indonesian city of Yogyakarta, where officials discovered about 2.5 kilograms of heroin hidden in her luggage.
Her lawyers claimed she was duped into carrying it, hidden in the lining of a suitcase, by human traffickers who promised her a domestic job.
Veloso's mother, Celia, told Manila radio station DZBB from Indonesia that what happened was “a miracle.”
“We thought we've lost my daughter. I really thank God. What my daughter Mary Jane said earlier was true, 'If God wants me to live, even if just by a thread or just in the final minute, I will live,” she said.
“That's what she said and it became true. So I really thank God for this miracle that happened to my child.”
In Manila, the temporary reprieve sparked celebrations Manila, where about 250 people holding a candlelight vigil outside the Indonesian Embassy broke into applause after learning that Veloso had escaped death.
A spokesperson for the Philippines President thanked his Indonesian counterpart, Jokowi Widodo for giving due consideration to the legal appeals and expressed his hope that a wider criminal operation would be uncovered.
Two Australians, four Nigerians, a Brazilian and an Indonesian man were executed.
Additional reporting by agencies