Judge defers ruling on Pemberton bail
Bebot Sison Jr. (The Philippine Star) - January 7, 2016 - 9:00am

OLONGAPO CITY, Philippines – A regional trial court judge here has given lawyers of the family of transgender Jeffrey Laude 10 days to comment on the petition for bail filed by the camp of his convicted killer US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton.

RTC Branch 74 Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde also gave Pemberton’s camp another 10 days to reply to the comment of Laude’s lawyers on the Marine’s bail petition.

Charged with murder for killing Laude in October 2014, Pemberton was convicted of the lesser charge of homicide last Dec. 1.

The RTC judge said the prosecution failed to prove that cruelty and treachery were present in the Marine’s killing of Laude in the toilet of a rented room at Celzone Lodge here. The two had some drinks at the nearby Ambyanz Nightlife Bar before checking into the motel.

Aside from seeking bail, Pemberton is also asking the court to reverse its decision as well as reduce his six to 12-year jail term. His lawyers said his move to surrender shortly after the killing was enough justification for a lighter sentence.

Pemberton’s lawyers, in their motion, insist their client did not kill Laude.

In a text message to The STAR, private prosecutor Virgie Suarez said the motion for reconsideration filed by Pemberton’s camp is “simply based on rehashed arguments” already rejected by the court during his trial.

She also said Pemberton should not be allowed bail as he has been declared an undesirable alien and a “very obvious flight risk.”

Documents indicate Pemberton’s camp still believes he should have been acquitted, citing self-defense.

His lawyers also said that if the court upholds his conviction, he should at least be given a lighter sentence considering his decision to surrender and his having “no intention to commit so grave a wrong.”

Clerk of court Gerry Gorospe said the judge has set for Jan. 28 the hearing on the contempt charges filed by the family of Laude against an official of the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement (PCVFA) and 11 American soldiers who reportedly defied Jabalde’s initial ruling to send Pemberton to the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.

Lead counsel of the Laude family Harry Roque has asked the court to cite PCVFA executive director and retired general Eduardo Oban Jr. and the 11 American soldiers in indirect contempt for refusing to turn Pemberton over to local authorities after his Dec. 1 conviction.

After reading the verdict on that day, Jabalde directed the Philippine National Police to detain Pemberton at the NBP pending an agreement between the Philippine and US governments on where the Marine would be held.

But the judge later allowed Pemberton’s temporary detention at Camp Aguinaldo.

ACIRC AMBYANZ NIGHTLIFE BAR CAMP AGUINALDO CELZONE LODGE EDUARDO OBAN JR. GERRY GOROSPE HARRY ROQUE JABALDE JEFFREY LAUDE JUDGE ROLINE GINEZ-JABALDE PEMBERTON
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