Olongapo RTC orders Pembertonâs release
Marilou Laude-Mahait, the victim’s sister, filed a motion through their lawyer Virginia Suarez opposing Pemberton’s release, citing, “a) there is no proof of US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton's behavior conduct and participation of any activities certified by the Time Allowance Supervisor, and b) there is no proof of the required recommendation made by the management, screening and evaluation committee.”
STAR/ File
Olongapo RTC orders Pemberton’s release
Bebot Sison Jr. (The Philippine Star) - September 3, 2020 - 12:00am

OLONGAPO CITY, Philippines  — The Regional Trial Court Branch 74 here yesterday granted the motion of US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, who was convicted of killing transgender Jeffrey ”Jennifer” Laude in 2014, for an early release through the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA).

The court’s Presiding Judge Roline Ginez Jabalde issued the release order.

Laude’s family, however, filed a motion for reconsideration, saying the convicted killer failed to show proof of good conduct.

Marilou Laude-Mahait, the victim’s sister, filed a motion through their lawyer Virginia Suarez opposing Pemberton’s release, citing, “a) there is no proof of Pemberton’s behavior conduct and participation of any activities certified by the Time Allowance Supervisor, and b) there is no proof of the required recommendation made by the management, screening and evaluation committee.”

Pemberton’s camp had filed a motion for his immediate release with full credit, saying the American serviceman had already completed service of his sentence based on good conduct.

On Dec. 1, 2015, Pemberton was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for homicide after admitting in court he strangled and killed Laude.

The American serviceman had also paid the Laude family P4.6 million in civil damages after the Supreme Court allowed Pemberton to withdraw his appeal to reverse his conviction.

Laude was found dead at Celzone Lodge along Magsaysay Drive in Olongapo City on Oct. 11, 2014.

Suarez said the 2017 Uniform Manual on Time Allowance and Service of Sentence provides that good conduct refers to the non-violation of prison rules and active involvement in rehabilitation programs, productive participation in unauthorized work activities or accomplishment of exemplary deeds coupled with faithful obedience to all prison rules and regulations, and the GCTA is a privilege granted to a person deprived of liberty (PDL) entitling him/her to a reduction of prison term for every month of actual detention or service of sentence as a reward for good conduct and exemplary behavior.

Pemberton, according to Suarez, is a national prisoner as declared by the court and should have served his sentence in the New Bilibid Prison.

By Pemberton’s own motion and invoking the Visiting Forces Agreement, he was given the privilege of serving his sentence solo and comfortably in a specially made facility at Camp Aguinaldo.

“His conduct was never put to test as he has never joined other convicts,” Suarez said.

She also insisted that the GCTA is made to unclog the overpopulated prisons in the country, and Pemberton was kept in a “special prison,” where no one is with him, which casts doubt on whether Pemberton really displayed good conduct.

“(Pemberton) should be kept in Bilibid. He is very privileged... Barely five years from his sentence, he already invoked GCTA. How can you invoke GCTA (when) you do not have any person with you?” Suarez said in Filipino in a radio interview over radio station dzBB yesterday afternoon.

“(The GCTA is based on) rehabilitation programs and authorized work activities... He has none at all. There is no basis for the GCTA. There should be a recommendation from the management screen evaluation committee, but he has none,” she added.

Suarez also emphasized that the “injustice” on the release of Pemberton “is likewise an injustice to the Filipino people,” and so Pemberton’s motion for early release should be denied and he should be ordered to complete his sentence.

Laude’s family was “devastated” on the release order, according to Suarez, and that Pemberton “never apologized” to them.

“Despite these, should (he) apply for GCTA?” the lawyer said.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) last night said it just received the court decision yesterday.

“(The) normal process of post-release documentation (will) apply, just like any other ordinary court releases,” BuCor spokesman Gabriel Chaclag said in a message.

For Pemberton’s counsel Rowena Flores, however, the court “merely applied the law.”

“After applying the law, it appeared that Pemberton has been overstaying in jail for over a month,” Flores told The STAR.

Flores added that Suarez’s motion for reconsideration may not be authorized because in a meeting among Flores, presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. and a Bureau of Corrections representative in early 2017, Laude’s mother Julita Cabillan agreed to Pemberton’s release on parole in July of that year.

DOJ still verifying release order

Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said they have not yet received a copy of the Olongapo court’s order for the BuCor to release Pemberton.

As of late yesterday afternoon, Perete said they are verifying media reports that Jabalde had ordered the BuCor to set Pemberton free.

“We are trying to confirm this report. We have yet to receive a copy of the court’s resolution, if any,” Perete added.

The court took into consideration the supposed GCTA credits earned by the US Marine officer, and that based on the computation he even served beyond the maximum of 10 years.

During his preventive suspension, he served 405 days in prison and another 1,737 days during his service of sentence, for a total of 2,142 days.

Adding GCTA credits, he obtained during his preventive suspension 260 days and 1,288 days during his service of sentence that totaled 1,548 days.

By combining the 2,142 days actual time served and 1,548 days GCTA, this summed up to 3,690 days.

Article 13 of the Civil Code states that a year is equivalent to 365 days and a month is 30 days.

“Finally, accused Pemberton has a total accumulated time served with entitlement of GCTA of 10 years, one month and 10 days, which is more than the 10 years maximum penalty imposed by this court and affirmed by the Court of Appeals. Thus, he is now entitled to be released for he had already served the 10 years maximum of his penalty,” the court order said. –  Ralph Edwin Villanueva, Evelyn Macairan

GCTA
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with