‘Laude camp can’t question Pemberton detention’
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - December 7, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The family of slain transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude has no legal personality to question the arrangement for the detention of his killer, US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, who was convicted of homicide last week.

Former justice undersecretary Jose Justiniano stressed that it should be the prosecutors of the Department of Justice who should take the issue to the Supreme Court.

Pemberton began serving time at a special detention facility at the Armed Forces headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

“If ever this matter is brought to the SC, it should be the DOJ through the Office of the Solicitor General and not the private lawyer,” he stressed in an interview yesterday.

Justiniano, who was part of the defense team of Lance Corporal Daniel Smith in the 2005 Subic rape case, explained that the interest of the Laude family should be limited to the civil aspect of the case.

“When you file the complaint, your interest is civil in nature since criminal case is the interest of the state. This is why the private prosecutor is always under the jurisdiction of the public prosecutor,” he pointed out.

The former DOJ official expressed belief it would be difficult for the Laude camp and its private lawyers to justify in court their reported challenge to the detention of Pemberton.

The Laude family and their lawyers led by Harry Roque Jr. were reportedly planning to question Pemberton’s continued detention in Camp Aguinaldo before the Supreme Court.

The issue on Pemberton’s detention after his conviction last Dec. 1 arose after the Olongapo regional trial court Branch 74 ordered his transfer to the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City pending agreement between the US and Philippine governments on where to have him serve time as provided for under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

The DOJ, however, said in a statement that Pemberton would remain in detention in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City despite his conviction for homicide.

VFA officials also informed the RTC that there was an agreement between the two governments to have Pemberton temporarily detained at the AFP custodial center in Camp Aguinaldo under the watch of Bureau of Corrections personnel pending completion of the judicial process, including an appeal of his conviction.

This prompted Judge Roline Jinez-Jabalde to issue another order Tuesday evening committing the American serviceman to the Camp Aguinaldo facility.

Justiniano, who resigned from his DOJ post last October, also confirmed discussions as early as last August on the possible place of detention for US personnel convicted in the country.

“There was an agreement that in case Pemberton would be convicted, he would be detained in AFP Custodial Center in Camp Aguinaldo… but I did not see if there was a signed agreement,” he added.

Justiniano said Jabalde was not aware about the agreement when she ordered the transfer of Pemberton to the NBP.

“It was premature for the judge to know since there was still no judgment when the agreement on his detention was done. Why would you presume that he would be convicted?” he explained.

In its decision, the RTC found Pemberton guilty of homicide – not of murder as charged by the prosecution – and sentenced him to six to 12 years in prison. 

ACIRC AGREEMENT ARMED FORCES BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS CAMP CAMP AGUINALDO DETENTION JUSTINIANO PEMBERTON QUEZON CITY SUPREME COURT
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