PH may get better access to US COVID-19 vaccine with Pemberton pardon — Roque
MANILA, Philippines— For presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to grant US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton absolute pardon might be part of the chief executive’s bid to secure a COVID-19 vaccine from the United States.
Noting it is his opinion, Roque said he has no problem with the absolute pardon if it means providing Filipinos with a vaccine against the respiratory disease which has so far sickened over 245,000 persons in the country.
“Tingin ko naman, itong desisyon ng Presidente, ito ay personal na opinyon ko, ang pagbibigay ng pardon kay Pemberton ay kabahagi ng pagnanais ng Presidente na kapag meron nang vaccine na madevelop kung sa America man, ay makikinabang din ang Pilipinas,” Roque said in an online briefing.
(I think the President’s decision, this is my personal opinion, to grant pardon to Pemberton is part of his hope for the Philippines to benefit from America’s COVID-19 vaccine should it develop one.)
Roque was a counsel for the family of Filipino transgender woman Jennifer Laude whom Pemberton killed in 2014.
“Sa akin po, bagamat tayo po ang tumayong abogado ng pamilyang Laude, kung ibig sabihin naman yan lahat ng Pilipino ay magkakaroon ng vaccine kung Amerikano ang maka-develop, wala po akong problema dyan,” he said.
(For me, though we were an attorney of the Laude family, if it means that Filipinos could get a vaccine should the Americans develop one, I have no problem with that.)
The President said he decided to grant Pemberton pardon because he was not treated “fairly.”
Despite his contradicting views with the President, Roque said he and Duterte remain on the same boat in pushing for an independent foreign policy.
“Hindi pa rin po nagbabago yung paninindigan ko na yung pagkamatay ni Jennifer Laude nung 2014 ay symbolic na pagkamatay ng soberenya,” Roque said.
(My stance remains that Jennifer Laude’s death in 2014 was symbolic of the Philippine sovereignty’s death.)
“Kaya nagkakaisa po kami ng Presidente sa desisyon na iterminate ang Visiting Forces Agreement. Panandalian lang po nasuspend yung termination pero hindi pa po nagbabago yung desisyon ni Presidente,” he went on.
(That’s why the President and I agreed with the decision to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement.)
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