Laude kin on Duterte pardon to Pemberton: ‘Injustice to Filipinos’
OLONGAPO CITY—The lawyer of the family of a Filipino transgender killed by an American soldier lambasted the absolute pardon that President Rodrigo Duterte granted the convicted US Marine, calling it an injustice to Filipinos.
“This is a travesty of Philippine sovereignty and democracy,” said lawyer Virgie Lacsa-Suarez, who represented the family of Jennifer Laude. Laude was killed by US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton after the American soldier picked her up.
“This is another hallmark of Philippine subservience to the US,” said Suarez.
She said Laude’s killing was a mirror of the “systematic discrimination and violence inflicted by the US on Filipino women, children and the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community.”
“There are too many Filipino convicts, already in their twilight years serving their sentence, why give it to a foreigner, a US soldier who committed an atrocious crime?” she said.
LGBTQ rights group True Colors Coalition-Pilipinas condemned the presidential pardon to Pemberton, saying it showed that the Duterte administration was “subservient” to the US government.
The group said it was also a reflection of the government’s failure to recognize the rights of LGBTQ members. “This government should be held liable for this kind of policy and injustice that prevails in our country,” the group said.
Lawyer Rowena Garcia-Flores, Pemberton’s counsel, said she was “in disbelief” after learning about the absolute pardon of her client.
“We didn’t expect that President Duterte would grant him (Pemberton) that,” said Flores.
“As a lawyer, the President knows that we didn’t ask for what was not according to the law,” Flores said in a television interview.
She said Pemberton may walk free “as soon as possible” after completing requirements from the Bureau of Immigration.
She said the American serviceman told her two days ago that he would like to get a job in the US and obtain a college degree.