Duterte pardons Pemberton ‘all because he is a US soldier,’ says Laude camp
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has granted pardon for US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton “all because he (Pemberton) is a US soldier,” the lawyer of Jennifer Laude’s family said Tuesday.
“Talagang may problema sa kung paano nag-iisip ang ating Presidente. Ang sinasabi ko, ‘yung kanyang colonial mentality,” an outraged Atty. Virginia Suarez told ABS-CBN News Channel.
(The President really has a problem in his way of thinking. I am referring to his colonial mentality.)
“This is same kung paano nag-iisip ang marami nating mamamayan, kung paano nag-iisip ang ating mga maraming politiko, always for the interest of the foreign, always for the interest of the US. ‘Yung order niya, the pardon given to Pemberton, it’s all because Pemberton is a US soldier. There was no other reason.” she added.
(This is the same as how most of our countrymen and politicians think, always for the interest of the foreign, of the US. His order for pardon was all because Pemberton is a US soldier. There was no other reason.)
Suarez said she never believed Duterte was serious in all his rants against the US government, as he didn’t change the foreign policy of the Philippines in so far as national security agreements are concerned.
She stressed that while Duterte initially ordered the suspension of the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States, he did it only for a “flimsy reason” after the US canceled the visa of his former police chief and now Senator Ronald Dela Rosa.
INQUIRER.net sought comment from Malacañang through presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Suarez’ remarks but he has yet to give a reply as of posting time.
As legal counsel for the Laude family, Suarez said she could not do anything further about the release of Pemberton following the pardon coming from the President.
“But the masses can do something. We do not want another Jennifer Laude, we do not want another travesty of this kind, and therefore for as long as all these national security agreements [exist], definitely there will come a time that there will be another Jennifer Laude,” she said.
“Mapapalaya si Pemberton, kailan naman kaya tayo lalaya sa mga hindi pantay na kasunduan? Kasi hangga’t nandyan ‘yan, patuloy na mangyayari ‘yung mga ganitong klase ng pribilehiyo na maibibigay sa mga dayuhan o banyaga,” she added.
(Pemberton will be released, but when will we be free from unfair agreements? As long as it exists, there will be more instances where this kind of privilege will be given to foreigners.)
Marilou Laude, sister of Jennifer, was also “shocked” over the decision of the President.
“She was shocked and then she said, ‘akala ko, attorney, kakampi namin si Duterte, akala ko kakampi natin, akala ko ayaw niya sa America. Bakit ganoon?’” said Suarez, quoting the words of Marilou.
(She was shocked and she said, “attorney, I thought Duterte was on our side, that he is against the US. Why did this happen?'”)
On Monday, the Laude family sought help from the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Corrections for them to see Pemberton as proof that he is still in the Philippines.
“Kasi ‘yung pangamba na bakit ang lahat ng ito ay nangyayari? Bakit minamadali kahit ang korte? Bakit biglang nangyari ito na wala tayong alam, attorney? Baka naman wala na si Pemberton,” she added.
(They were asking why all of these are happening? Why the court acted fast? Why it happened without our knowledge, attorney? Maybe Pemberton is not here in the Philippines anymore.)
But aside from this request, the Laude family has another appeal to the government.
“Ang request na lang ng mga Laude, sana hindi na maulit ito. Sana wala nang panibagong Jennifer,” said Suarez.
(The only request of the Laude family is that this should not happen again. We hope that there will be no more another Jennifer.)