• Melo Acuna

President Duterte says Pemberton was unfairly treated; people's organizations call for Justice

President Duterte said he pardoned US Marine Pemberton because he was not treated fairly

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte, in another surprise move, freed a US Marine convicted for the killing of a transgender Filipino in 2014 which led to nationwide indignation.

In his nationwide television address which began at 7:46 P.M. Monday, President Duterte said he pardoned Land Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton because the latter received unfair treatment after opponents blocked his early release for good conduct while sserving his term.

Atty. Virginia Suarez, counsel for the late transgender’s family said President Duterte’s act was “revolting.”

In a statement, she said on behalf of the Laude Family and other people’s organizations, they strongly denounce the absolute pardon extended by President Duterte because it is ot only injustice to the late Jennifer Laude and family “bit a grave injustice to the Filipino people.” She described the pardon as “a travesty of Philippine Sovereignty and democracy.”

“This is another hallmark of Philippines’ subservience to the United States,” Atty. Suarez said. She added there are many old Filipino convicts serving their sentence but have remained in the national penitentiary while the pardoned individual was a foreigner, a US soldier convicted for an atrocious crime.

“Pemberton killing Laude reflects the systematic discrimination and violence inflicted by the United States to Filipino women, children and the LGBTQ community,” the lawyer added.

She described the pardon extended to Pemberton is “a mockery of our judiciary and legal system.”

Atty. Edre Olalia, president of the National Union of People’s Lawyers said President Duterte’s latest act of extending pardon to a convicted American serviceman as “unbelievable.”

He said President Duterte’s decision was timed to pull the run under everyone’s feet and pre-empt the possibility of any other adverse result to his case as the legal debate is still brewing on the applicability of the Good Conduct Time Allowance.

“And maybe there is more to it that it meets the eye? We are endlessly fed with all iniquitous fare and the law is being used not to bring justice but to perpetuate injustice,” he said in a statement. (Melo M. Acuña)

President Rodrigo Duterte in his Talke to teh People Address.

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