Deportation proceedings vs Pemberton may be finished this weekend, Guevarra says

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Deportation proceedings vs Pemberton may be finished this weekend, Guevarra says
In this file photo taken on Dec. 1, 2015, US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton (C) is escorted by Philippine policemen shortly after arriving at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, from Olongapor city where a court convicted him of homicide for the killing of Jennifer Laude in a motel in October 2014. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has granted an absolute pardon to a US marine convicted of killing a transgender woman, officials said on September 7, 2020, drawing condemnation from rights groups.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — Deportation proceedings against US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, convicted killer of Filipino transgender woman Jennifer Laude may be finished this weekend, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.

But the date on his actual departure would still depend on arrangements regarding his status as military personnel of the US, Guevarra told reporters on Thursday.

ABS-CBN reported that Bureau of Corrections Director General Gerald Bantag has already signed the release order of Pemberton.

This was after the bureau, earlier on Thursday, received a copy of the absolute pardon President Rodrigo Duterte granted to Pemberton. BuCor has since stated processing his release order.

After securing release from prison, Pemberton will be brought to the Bureau of Immigration for the deportation proceedings. 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.

“As soon as Mr. Pemberton is released from his detention cell, [BI] will take over custody of his person and proceed to deport him immediately. It is my expectation that by this weekend, the whole process will have been completed,” Guevarra added.

Lawyer Rowena Flores, Pemberton’s counsel, said they will ask the NBI to go to Camp Aguinaldo for the processing of his clearance to “avoid media circus.”

Duterte on Monday announced that he is granting absolute pardon to Pemberton, saying the American convict was “treated unfairly” in his application for Good Conduct and Time Allowance.

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

Legal issues surrounding the grant of his GCTA were raised in the motions for reconsideration, filed respectively by the Laude family and government lawyers, before the Olongapo court—but these proceedings have been rendered moot and academic already by Duterte’s move.

Duterte granting pardon to Pemberton drew criticism and outrage from rights groups, and even Vice President Leni Robredo who questioned whether the decision was fair and just.

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