Group urges Duterte to pardon ‘deserving’ Filipino inmates
MANILA, Philippines — After the deportation of US Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott who was granted an absolute pardon, a prisoners’ rights group and a bishop have urged President Rodrigo Duterte to extend the same clemency to more deserving Filipinos languishing in congested jails.
“[We press] for equity and fairness. It may be too late to reverse Pemberton’s pardon now that he has already flown the coop. But it’s never too late to extend pardon to thousands more prisoners who in fact have long filed for pardon and are far more deserving,” Kapatid spokesperson Fides Lim told the Inquirer.
She pointed out that if Pemberton — who was kept in solitary confinement in an air-conditioned facility — was easily pardoned by the President, there was no reason not to order the humanitarian release of elderly and sickly inmates.
“[If the President will grant clemency to our relatives], we will welcome it,” said Lim, whose husband, National Democratic Front of the Philippines consultant Vicente Ladlad, had been in jail since November 2019 on a charge of illegal possession of firearms. His camp, however, claimed the guns and ammunition were planted by the police.
Kapatid also urged the government to release 635 political prisoners, some of them imprisoned for 20 to 30 years on trumped-up charges.
During his homily at the Kambal na Krus chapel in Tondo, Manila on Sunday, Archdiocese of Manila Apostolic Administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo asked the President to use his “prerogative to forgive [and] give hope to those who have erred.”
“If there really is such a virtue as forgiveness in the government, why not exercise this for so many who are languishing in jails? As we see, the issue of forgiveness is not just about our relationship with God, but society as well,” Pabillo said.
Pemberton was convicted for killing Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude in 2014 and received a 10-year sentence. In defending his decision, Mr. Duterte claimed Pemberton was treated unfairly.
—With a report from Jodee A. Agoncillo
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