Duterte: We have not treated Pemberton fairly
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he decided to grant absolute pardon to US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton because the Philippines “did not treat him fairly.”
In a televised speech, Duterte said it was not Pemberton’s fault that his good conduct time allowance was not recorded.
“It is not the fault of Pemberton na hindi na na-compute because we should allow him, the good character presumption kasi wala namang nagreport na Marines na nagsabi na nagwawala siya,” Duterte said.
“So sabi ko kay Justice Secretary [Menardo Guevarra], [Executive Secretary Salvador] Medialdea, pinatawag ko sila kanina, sabi ko it’s my decision to pardon. Correct me if I’m wrong but ito ang tingin ko sa kaso. We have not treated Pemberton fairly,” he added.
Duterte has granted Pemberton, who was convicted for killing Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude in 2014, “absolute pardon” earlier Monday.
An Olongapo court previously ordered the release of Pemberton, saying the US serviceman has already served his 10-year maximum penalty after taking into account the good conduct time allowances he accumulated while in detention.
Pemberton only served five years and eight months of his jail term but the Olongapo court said his good conduct time allowances totaled 1,548 days, or worth more than four years which bring Pemberton’s accumulated jail time to over 10 years.
“Kaligaya ko na lang magpakulong ng mga buang, mga gago. But you know, if there is a time where you are called upon to be fair, be fair. Be fair,” Duterte said.
“Ngayon sabi mo, Duterte fair ka ba diyan sa mga durogista. Ah… be cruel, be cruel. Putangina nila, sinabi ko noon. Leche kayo,” he continued.
Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said the President granting Pemberton absolute pardon means he can now be released from prison and that his good conduct time allowance is no longer an issue.
Despite this, Roque, who was the Laude family’s legal counsel in the case, noted that Pemberton’s conviction as “murderer” cannot be erased by the pardon.
“Ang ‘di po nabura ng Presidente, ‘yung conviction ni Pemberton, mamatay-tao pa rin po siya. Pero kung ano ‘yung karagdagang parusa pa, binura na ng Presidente,” Roque said.
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