Roque says Pemberton to face US court martial


MANILA, Philippines — US Marine L/Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton, convicted killer of Filipino transgender woman Jennifer Laude, will face the court martial upon his arrival in his home country, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Monday.

In a briefing on Monday, Roque, who was among the Laude family’s trial lawyers, said that US authorities and representatives of the American Marine Corps said Pemberton will face court martial.

“The process will only be finished in the Philippines, but the court martial proceedings will continue,” he said in Filipino. He added that this was the promise made by American officers during the pre-trial stage of the case against Pemberton.

Roque said the court martial will determine additional punishment for Pemberton and whether he is qualified to remain in service.

Pemberton was deported to the US on Sunday morning, a few days after President Rodrigo Duterte, in a surprise move, granted him pardon for killing Laude in a motel in Olongapo in 2014.

Duterte’s grant of pardon effectively rendered as moot proceedings at the Olongapo court on the Laude family and government lawyer’s appeal on an earlier release order, under the Good Conduct and Time Allowance law.

Roque, in the same briefing, said to his knowledge, Duterte did not give a promise to the Laude family that Pemberton will not walk free during his presidency. He confirmed that Duterte gave financial assistance to the Laude family three times, but the chief executive never met the family.

Jennifer’s mother, Julita, shared she bears ill feelings towards Duterte over his grant of pardon to her child’s killer. She also recounted that Duterte was happy because their family fought for their case. “Dahil sabi niya na hangga't siya raw ang nakaupo, hinding hindi niya papayagan na makalaya si Pemberton (Because he said that as long as he was in office, he would never allow Pemberton to be released),” she added.

But Roque said that what Duterte promised was justice will be given to the killing of Jennifer. “Nakulong naman po si Pemberton nang halos anim na taon (Pemberton was imprisoned for almost six years),” he also said, adding that Pemberton left the country as an “undesirable alien” and was placed under immigration blacklist.

The American convict flown out of the country nearly six years since he strangled and killed Laude. — Kristine Joy Patag

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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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