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Duterte Grants Absolute Pardon to U.S. Marine Joseph Pemberton


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hyaku

https://rappler.com/nation/duterte-grants-absolute-pardon-us-marine-pemberton

Duterte grants 'absolute pardon' to US soldier Pemberton

SEPTEMBER 7, 2020 5:14 PM PHT

SOFIA TOMACRUZ

pem.JPG

MANILA, PHILIPPINES

(UPDATED) 'The President has granted an absolute pardon to Pemberton,' announces Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has granted "absolute pardon" to United States Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, clearing the way for the soldier's early release, confirmed Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. 

"Cutting matters short over what constitutes time served, and since where he was detained was not in the prisoner's control – and to do justice – the President has granted an absolute pardon to Pemberton," Locsin announced in a tweet on Monday, September 7. 

Pemberton, an American soldier convicted of homicide, had been sentenced to 10 years in prison last December 2015 over the killing of Filipino transgender woman Jennifer Laude. 

The soldier, however, was set to be freed 4 years earlier than his scheduled release after he was recently granted full credits of Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) under a Philippine law. 

Pemberton to walk free

Up until Duterte's pardon, the Philippine government refused to immediately implement a regional court's release order of Pemberton, saying a motion for reconsideration was filed by Laude's family must first be resolved. 

Laude's family earlier insisted on seeing proof of Pemberton's records on good behavior while he was detained at a restricted facility in the military headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo. 

Meanwhile, one of Laude's lawyers earlier questioned whether or not Pemberton, who was covered by the Philippines' decades-old Visiting Forces Agreement with the US, was even covered by the GCTA law. 

"The Court said equal protection does not apply in detentions and convictions under the Visiting Forces Agreement; there is a substantial difference in treatment between someone under the VFA and an ordinary convict. Thus, a different modality applies to Pemberton," international law professor Romel Bagares earlier told Rappler. Bagares is one of the Laude family's lawyers.

Bagares had argued Pemberton was likewise not covered by the equal protection clause since "there is a substantial basis for a different treatment of a member of a foreign military armed forces allowed to enter our territory and all other accused."

In a statement on Monday, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte’s pardon clears the issue of whether or not Pemberton is entitled to GCTA. 

“This means Pembeteron will be granted freedom, there is no more issue over whether or not he is entitled to GCTA…. The President cleared the punishment that was imposed on Pemberton,” he said. 

Roque, who used to be one of the Laude family’s lawyers, said that while this was the case, the President did not clear Pemberton’s conviction. 

“Mamamatay tao pa rin siya pero kung ano yung karagdang parusa pa, binura na ng Presidente,” he said. (He is still a murderer but the punishment given to him has been absolved by the President.)

About-face

Just last week, Malacañang slammed Pemberton’s early release, calling it an instance of "judicial overreach" as it encroached on the executive branch's power to grant GCTA. 

Roque earlier called the move to release Pemberton "unjust" as he questioned the decision to do so. Roque said the Olongapo regional trial court had no basis to grant full credits to Pemberton since the Bureau of Corrections, the agency with authority to grant such credits, made no such recommendation.

Roque had also earlier liked the Pemberton issue to Duterte’s order to terminate the VFA last February, as the Presidential Spokererson said “ it is not pursuant to our national interest.”

But Duterte since walked back on this decision in June, ordering for or the extension of the VFA for up to one year, citing shifting geopolitics in the region as well as the coronavirus pandemic. 

Pemberton was earlier convicted in December 2015 for killing Laude, a transgender woman, who he was about to have sex with. Upon discovering she had male genitals, the US soldier arm-locked Laude and dunked her head in the toilet bowl.

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Salty Dog

This thread "Pemberton Murder of Transgender" contains over 450 posts with news articles and discussions about the case...

 

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Edwin
25 minutes ago, battleborn said:

Glad he was pardoned

Why?

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Headshot
3 hours ago, battleborn said:

Glad he was pardoned

He will still have to face a court martial.

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mikecon3
45 minutes ago, Headshot said:

He will still have to face a court martial.

I was wondering about that. Wasn't sure if he was still active duty or not, I didn't know how the military handles something like this. Guess he's been getting paid this whole time then.

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SkyMan
6 hours ago, mikecon3 said:

I was wondering about that. Wasn't sure if he was still active duty or not, I didn't know how the military handles something like this. Guess he's been getting paid this whole time then.

I doubt he's been getting paid but he has been AWOL since his arrest and after 10 days AWOL becomes disertion. You might think his arrest would be a valid excuse for being AWOL but it was his actions which caused that so it's still his fault.  I don't think the military will retry him for the murder because the evidence isn't strong enough and the CSI was, well, top notch I'm sure. 

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Headshot
2 hours ago, SkyMan said:

I doubt he's been getting paid but he has been AWOL since his arrest and after 10 days AWOL becomes disertion. You might think his arrest would be a valid excuse for being AWOL but it was his actions which caused that so it's still his fault.  I don't think the military will retry him for the murder because the evidence isn't strong enough and the CSI was, well, top notch I'm sure. 

No, they will probably try him for conduct unbecoming and a few other miscellaneous charges. The murder was outside of military jurisdiction.

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fred42
18 hours ago, Edwin said:

Why?

Because he was due release after considering good behavior perhaps?

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streak03

Pretty sure he will get a DD when he's released and back in the US.  I don't see them giving him a court martial, and he's still been on active duty this whole time and getting paid,  otherwise he wouldn't have fallen under the VFA.  

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RogerDuMond
1 hour ago, streak03 said:

Pretty sure he will get a DD when he's released and back in the US.  I don't see them giving him a court martial,

He would have to face a court martial, as a dishonorable discharge can only be given by a court martial. The worst he could get without facing a court martial is an "other than honorable" discharge.

https://www.vetverify.org/javax.faces.resource/images/VOSB-Military-Discharge-Overview.pdf.xhtml?ln=default&v=1_0

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battleborn
On September 8, 2020 at 9:46 AM, Edwin said:

Why?

Because they lawyers here would drag his release on for years.  I personally feel he did enough time.  I would have been pretty upset at 19 to find I was with a chick with a dick.  She didn't deserve to die but an ass kicking, maybe.

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streak03
On 9/9/2020 at 8:07 AM, RogerDuMond said:

He would have to face a court martial, as a dishonorable discharge can only be given by a court martial. The worst he could get without facing a court martial is an "other than honorable" discharge.

https://www.vetverify.org/javax.faces.resource/images/VOSB-Military-Discharge-Overview.pdf.xhtml?ln=default&v=1_0

Yep thats correct, my mistake

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samatm

guessing that in light of Duterte's Pivot back to the US... Pemberton's pardon was tied to getting a new VFA agreement ironed.     Just a hunch.

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