Laudes question Pemberton detention at Camp Aguinaldo
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - December 16, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The family of slain transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude yesterday questioned before the Supreme Court (SC) the arrangement for the detention of US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton at the Armed Forces of Philippines (AFP) headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

In a 30-page petition, Laude’s sisters Marilou and Michelle asked the high court to strike down the memorandum of agreement (MOA) forged by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the AFP on the same day Pemberton was convicted for homicide on Dec. 1 for killing Laude.

Under the MOA, Pemberton would remain detained at the Expeditionary Holding Facility within the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB) inside Camp Aguinaldo while the AFP Custodial Detention Center is being repaired.

The petitioners, through lawyer Harry Roque Jr., said the agreement should be declared unconstitutional since the BuCor has no authority to designate another place of detention for national prisoners, apart from the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) and other national penal institutions provided under the law.

They argued that it was an “executive encroachment” on the authority of the judicial department under Article VIII Section 6 of the Constitution, which provides for the power of the judiciary on administrative supervision over all courts.

Pemberton’s detention outside of the NBP would be discriminatory and in violation of the Constitution, Laude’s sisters said.

They slammed the supposed special treatment for Pemberton, saying the US soldier should be detained at the NBP in Muntinlupa City.

Pemberton was convicted by the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) for killing Laude last year.

The petitioners asked the high court to issue an injunction order prohibiting the respondents from implementing the MOA and order Pemberton’s transfer to the NBP.

Named respondents in the petition were Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Justice Secretary Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, BuCor Director Ricardo Rainier Cruz III and AFP headquarters service commander Brig. Gen. Vicente Yordan.

Last month, the high tribunal junked the petition of the Laude family to have Pemberton transferred from US custody to a regular jail.

Meanwhile, Presidential Commission on Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) Undersecretary Eduardo Oban Jr. was charged with a criminal complaint before the Department of Justice for disobeying the Olongapo court’s order to detain Pemberton at the AFP Custodial Center.

Laude’s sisters said Oban should be held liable for violation of Article 231 of the Revised Penal Code for failing to execute the order of Judge Roline Jinez-Jibalde of the Olongapo City RTC Branch 74.

ACIRC ARMED FORCES OF PHILIPPINES BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS CAMP AGUINALDO CUSTODIAL CENTER CUSTODIAL DETENTION CENTER DEFENSE SECRETARY VOLTAIRE GAZMIN DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE DIRECTOR RICARDO RAINIER CRUZ EXPEDITIONARY HOLDING FACILITY PEMBERTON
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