No special treatment for Pemberton – Noy
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - December 5, 2015 - 9:00am

ROME – There is no special treatment for US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, who was convicted of homicide for the death of Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude in Olongapo last year, President Aquino said on Friday.

He told reporters Pemberton is now detained in a Philippine-controlled facility in Camp Aguinaldo which can be considered an extension of the Bureau of Corrections.

The President went to Rome for an official visit after attending a climate summit in France.

“The facility in the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) is going to be manned by Bureau of Corrections personnel or is already being manned by Bureau of Corrections personnel. In effect, this is an extension of the Bilibid and consistent with the agreements under the VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement),” the President said.

“The bottom line is, as a sovereign state, we have an agreement with another sovereign state. It has been there. The court has ruled. Pemberton faced the court. He was sentenced by our court, our personnel will secure him so he can serve his sentence,” he added.

Aquino also lashed out at critics who were claiming that Pemberton was being treated as a special prisoner in the country.

“By the very nature of our agreement, we have an agreed upon detention facility. But they (critics) will say that since the detention facility is different, it is already special,” he said.

Earlier, Pemberton, who was charged with murder, was found guilty of the lesser offense of homicide and was sentenced to six to 12 years in prison by a local court.

Olongapo Regional Trial Court Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde also ordered the US Marine to pay the family of Laude a total of P4.6 million for lost earnings, burial expenses, moral damages, civil indemnity and exemplary damages.

The court initially ordered the transfer of Pemberton to the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa pending a custody arrangement between the Philippines and the United States. Jabalde later on allowed Pemberton to remain in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

While on trial, Pemberton stayed in an air-conditioned cargo container guarded by American soldiers inside the Joint US Military Assistance Group compound.

Lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc said Pemberton should be treated like an ordinary prisoner as they decried the supposed defiance of the court ruling by the US.

They said the Philippine government should assert its jurisdiction over the US Marine as a convicted criminal. 

Aquino expressed belief the court ruling would not strain the defense ties between the Philippines and the US.

“The rule of law happens in our country. It is respected by the other state. Therefore, it redounds to both parties’ benefits that are not unequal,” he said.

“We have equality among two equally sovereign states and if you commit a crime, you will be held accountable. That leads to an enhanced relationship between us and America,” he added.

Filipinos and their American colonizers fought side by side against the Japanese invaders in World War II.

In 1951 or six years after World War II, the Philippines – then already independent from the US – signed the Mutual Defense Treaty with the US.

The treaty allows each country to run to the aid of the other in case of foreign invasion.

The Philippines also forged the Visiting Forces Agreement in 1998 with the US, which allows rotational presence of American forces in the Philippines for joint drills and socio-civic activities.

 

 

ACIRC AQUINO ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS CAMP AGUINALDO COURT MARINE JOSEPH SCOTT PEMBERTON MILITARY ASSISTANCE GROUP PEMBERTON VISITING FORCES AGREEMENT WORLD WAR
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