US Marine whom Duterte pardoned over Laude killing to be discharged from service
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
US Marine whom Duterte pardoned over Laude killing to be discharged from service
Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - September 17, 2020 - 5:34pm

MANILA, Philippines — The US serviceman who was found guilty of killing a Filipino transgender woman six years ago but was pardoned by President Rodrigo Duterte will be discharged even if he does not face a court martial, Malacañang said Thursday.

Last Monday, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said US officials had assured him that Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, who was convicted of homicide over the death of transgender woman Jennifer Laude, would face a military court once he returns home.

However, a spokesman of the US Marine Corps has been quoted by a news website as saying that Pemberton would no longer undergo court martial proceedings.

Maj. Melanie Salinas of the Marine Corps' Communication Directorate told BenarNews that Pemberton would not be tried a second time for the same crime "consistent with the due process traditions shared by the United States and the Philippines." 

The soldier, however, would be processed for administrative discharge, the report said.

READ: Roque says Pemberton to face US court martial

"That's a decision of the US government," Roque, a former lawyer of the Laude family, said at a press briefing when asked to react to the BenarNews report.

"Although, I take note that they have said that he will be processed for administrative discharge. Meaning, he will be fired as a marine," he added.

Earlier this month, an Olongapo court said Pemberton can be released because he has served the ten years maximum of his penalty.

Pemberton stayed in prison for more than five years and eight months but was credited with a good conduct time allowance of more than four years. 

The justice department had planned to question the court order but it was superseded by President Duterte's decision to grant Pemberton an absolute pardon. The American serviceman was deported to the US this week.

Critics have decried Duterte's decision to pardon Pemberton but Roque maintains that justice has been served since Pemberton stayed in prison for nearly six years. The Palace official also noted that the pardon did not erase Pemberton's conviction. 

JENNIFER LAUDE US MARINE JOSEPH SCOTT PEMBERTON VISITING FORCES AGREEMENT
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