For COVID-19 vaccines? Locsin says 'no exchange' for Pemberton pardon | Inquirer News
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For COVID-19 vaccines? Locsin says ‘no exchange’ for Pemberton pardon

/ 01:58 PM September 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the absolute pardon given to U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton was not in exchange for better access to COVID-19 vaccines from the United States.

In a tweet Friday, Locsin said the granting of pardon to Pemberton was a “unilateral decision” of President Rodrigo Duterte.

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“I was with the President. Just me and Secretary Guevarra and [Executive Secretary Medialdea] and Senator Bong Go. I tweeted it. Mahirap ba to understand that?” he added.

The Department of Health (DOH) also denied that the pardon given to the U.S. serviceman was linked to the Philippines’ access to the vaccine being developed in the U.S.

Earlier, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque surmised that Duterte’s move to pardon Pemberton, who was convicted for the killing of Filipino transgender woman Jennifer Laude, might have been a part of the Chief Executive’s bid to secure virus vaccines from the United States.

“There is no exchange. I clinched that purely on my charm with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. I insisted that it be a private sector venture,” Locsin also wrote in a tweet on Thursday.

The foreign affairs chief further defended Duterte’s move to pardon Pemberton, saying it shows the President’s “sense of fairness in a particular case.”

“It’s impeccable law and morals,” he said.

In another tweet, Manila’s top diplomat also refuted Vice President Leni Robredo’s statement that the pardon for Pemberton was “one of the numerous instances where the government favors the powerful.”

“He wasn’t powerful,” Locsin said of Pemberton. “Everyone had ditched him and I mean everyone. No one even asked about him from his side.”

“Won’t argue more than that. But this is not speaking truth power. He’ll go home to no welcome except possibly among his poor own. The reality of an uneven society,” he added.

The President’s decision to pardon Pemberton came amid widespread opposition against an Olongapo court order allowing the release of the American based on the computation of his good conduct time allowance (GCTA).

In 2015, Pemberton was sentenced to six to 10 years in prison for killing Laude.

Pemberton only served five years and eight months of his jail term but the Olongapo court’s order said his good conduct time allowances totaled 1,548 days, or worth more than four years which brought his accumulated jail time to over 10 years.

/MUF

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TAGS: absolute pardon, COVID-19 Vaccine, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Joseph Scott Pemberton, Nation, News
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