BuCor starts processing Pemberton release
Demonstrators display placards to protest against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to pardon US marine Lance corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton who was convicted of killing a transgender woman, during a rally in Manila on September 8, 2020. Pemberton has been in prison since the October 2014 killing of Jennifer Laude, whom he met at a bar while on a break from military exercises in the northern city of Olongapo.
AFP/Ted Aljibe

BuCor starts processing Pemberton release

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - September 10, 2020 - 11:29am

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Corrections on Thursday morning said it has started processing the release of US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton after it received a copy of the absolute pardon granted to the American convict.

“BuCor has received from the [Department of Justice] a copy of the Absolute Pardon granted to [Pemberton] and has now started processing his release,” bureau spokesperson Gabriel Chaclag said.

“BuCor is now in coordination with relevant agencies that are involved in the process,” Chaclag added.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra previously said that the grant or pardon is enough to “trigger the issuance of a release order from the BuCor.”

READ: Duterte grants Jennifer Laude's killer Pemberton an absolute pardon

DOJ Undersecretary Markk Perete said normal processing of an inmate’s release takes one to two days, but he said he cannot be sure on the bureau’s level of preparedness on Pemberton’s case.

While convicts are sent to the national penitentiary to serve their sentences, Pemberton served his at Camp Aguinaldo, under the Visiting Forces Agreement.

Deportation next

After Pemberton’s release from BuCor, he would be transferred to the Bureau of Immigration for deportation.

While the president granted pardon to American convict, he would still have to undergo deportation proceedings as the case against him as it had long become final. Information from the immigration bureau said the order was issued against Pemberton on Sept. 16, 2015, “for being an undesirable alien.”

Lawyer Arvin Santos, BI legal division chief, said foreign nationals up for deportation are required to secure clearances from the National Bureau of Investigation and regional trial court as proof that there are no more pending criminal and civil cases against them.

President Rodrigo Duterte granted Pemberton pardon on Monday, effectively rendering moot the court proceedings opposing the American convict’s release order through the Good Conduct and Time Allowance law.

With the grant of pardon, “there is no more legal impediment or obstacle to Pemberton’s departure from the Philippines,” BI said.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: September 14, 2020 - 2:13pm

An Olongapo has granted the motion of US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, who was convicted of killing transgender woman Jennifer Laude in 2014, for an early release through the Good Conduct Time Allowance law.

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

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

September 14, 2020 - 2:13pm
President Rodrigo Duterte's pardon of Joseph Scott Pemberton over the killing of transgender woman Jennifer Laude is wrapped up in geopolitics and "did not come by chance", 
the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines - US (ICHRP-US) says.
"Pemberton’s release is not a matter of an individual’s good behavior, but rather a matter of national sovereignty and foreign intervention. This pardon reeks of U.S. meddling," says ICHRP-US spokesperson Drew Elizarde-Miller says.
The Philippine government has asserted that the US has nothing to do with the pardon. Pemberton's lawyer has also said the pardon was unexpected since they did not even apply for it.
ICHRP-US notes that the pardon comes after a US State Department approval of arms sales to the Philippines as well as the suspension of the Philippines' termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement with the US.
September 13, 2020 - 1:05pm

The US Embassy in Manila stresses that all legal proceedings on the "absolute pardon" of convicted American soldier Joseph Scott Pemberton took place under Philippine jurisdiction and law.

"Lance Cpl. Pemberton fulfilled his sentence as ordered by Philippine courts and he departed the Philippines on September 13," the US Embassy says in a statement.

September 13, 2020 - 10:53am

Convicted American soldier Joseph Scott Pemberton expresses his gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte for granting him absolute pardon, his lawyer says.

Lawyer Rowena Flores says Pemberton also extends his sympathy to the family of Jennifer Laude "for the pain he caused."

"In the years he spent in confinement, he spent much time contemplating the many errors in his ways regarding the night of October 11, 2014. He wishes he had the words to express the depth of his sorrow and regret," Flores says in a statement.

September 13, 2020 - 10:04am

Convicted American soldier Joseph Scott Pemberton has been placed on the blacklist of the Bureau of Immigration as a consequence of the deportation order against him.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente says Pemberton is perpetually banned from coming back to the Philippines.

"The Bureau saw that he is a risk to public safety, having been found guilty of the crime.  Hence he was tagged as an undesirable alien, and will be expelled from the Philippines," Morente says.

September 13, 2020 - 10:01am

Virginia Suarez, lawyer of the family of slain transgender woman Jennifer Laude, says she hopes convicted killer Joseph Scott Pemberton may find peace of mind as he returns to the United States.

"May he find peace of mind. Hoping he has learned from all these the value of life and dignity regardless of gender and nationality," Suarez says.

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