Pemberton to face court-martial in US â Roque
US authorities made the promise, Roque said as the convict, US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton was deported Sunday morning after being granted absolute pardon by Duterte almost six years after killing Jennifer Laude inside an Olongapo City motel in October 2014.
BI/Released
Pemberton to face court-martial in US – Roque
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - September 15, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The American serviceman convicted for killing a Filipino transgender in 2014 but pardoned by President Duterte would still face court-martial proceedings in the US, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said yesterday.

US authorities made the promise, Roque said as the convict, US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton was deported Sunday morning after being granted absolute pardon by Duterte almost six years after killing Jennifer Laude inside an Olongapo City motel in October 2014.

Before the pardon, the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 74 had ordered Pemberton’s release for good behavior under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.

“While there was no settlement and that’s the reason why the trial of Pemberton continued, American authorities, including the representative of the Marine Corps made a promise,” Roque, a former lawyer of the Laude family, said at a press briefing. He did not say who exactly made the promise.

“If Pemberton is released, that means the process in the Philippines is finished. But their promise is once Pemberton returns home, the court-martial proceedings would continue and that would determine whether he would be slapped with additional punishment and whether (he is still qualified) to remain in service,” he added.

Roque said he revealed the promise made by American authorities as part of his advocacy “to promote information on matters affecting the public interest.”

“I don’t think (the matter) is covered by privilege since I served as a lawyer of the Laude family when Pemberton was convicted,” he said.

Roque also denied the claim by Laude’s mother Julita that Duterte had promised her to keep Pemberton in prison while he is in office. “Unlike my other clients... Mrs. Laude did not meet with our President,” Roque said.

“What I know is, the President never made such promise. The President’s promise was to ensure justice for the death of Jennifer Laude – and Pemberton was imprisoned for almost six years,” Roque said in Filipino. He confirmed that Duterte had given financial aid to the Laude family.

“The President does not want to reveal the people who received help from him but since it came from Mrs. Laude, I can confirm the President gave them financial aid three times, but I won’t make the amount public,” the Palace spokesman said. Roque reiterated that the presidential pardon did not erase Pemberton’s conviction.

“Pemberton was punished and while he had left the country, he did not leave as a desirable alien. In fact, we forced him to leave. That’s the meaning of deportation. He did not leave voluntarily. We forced him to leave because he is an undesirable alien, because he is a convicted killer,” Roque said.

“The President only erased his remaining time in prison but not the truth that Pemberton is a convicted killer. Wherever he goes, a label will remain attached to him: convicted killer Pemberton,” he added.

Duterte previously claimed Pemberton was treated unfairly and that it was not the American serviceman’s fault that there was no record of his imprisonment. Various sectors have condemned Duterte’s decision to pardon Pemberton, saying it was an affront to the Philippine justice system.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea also defended before opposition lawmakers Duterte’s granting Pemberton absolute pardon, saying it was “well within his powers” as Chief Executive.

“I can assure you, the President exercised his plenary powers in granting Pemberton absolute pardon. It was well within his powers. He did not violate any law,” Medialdea said during the budget deliberations in the House appropriations committee. He also defended the Office of the President’s proposed P8.2-billion budget for 2021. – Delon Porcalla

Related video:

JOSEPH SCOTT PEMBERTON
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