PH gov’t can appeal early release of US soldier Pemberton

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The national government still has the chance to appeal the early release of a US Marine convicted for killing a Filipino transgender woman in 2014, Malacañang said Thursday. as the agency in charge for Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton’s custody announced it is deferring the implementation of such order.

An Olongapo court declared Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton eligible for early release, which Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque tagged as a “judicial overreach.”

Roque also served as counsel of the Laude family.

Pemberton on Tuesday was granted early release by Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 74, saying he was eligible for the privilege under a law that shortens jail time due to good conduct.

“Sa mga naghahawak po sa pagkatao ni Pemberton, hayaan niyo naman, bigyan niyo ng pagkakataon na mag-move for reconsideration ang executive branch dahil ang desisyon naman po for allowance for good conduct is an executive function,” Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

[To those who have custody over Pemberton, allow the executive branch to move for reconsideration of the court’s decision because the decision on allowance for good conduct is an executive function.]

Roque added that allowing the early release of Pemberton sets a “very bad” precedent as it shows the disregard for Filipino life.

“Parang pinapakita na hindi mahalaga ang buhay ng Pilipino,” Roque said.

[It seems that a Filipino’s life is not important.]

Earlier in the day, Gabriel Chaclag, spokesperson of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), the custodian of Pemberton while imprisoned inside the Philippine military’s main camp in Quezon City, said the agency has already received the court order directing the release of the American soldier.

“Wag niyo muna palalabasin po dahil hindi pa naman final and executory ang desisyon na yan. Pwede pa po mag-motion for reconsideration ang Republika ng Pilipinas,” Roque said.

[Don’t release him yet because the decision is not yet final and executory. The Republic of the Philippines can still file a motion for reconsideration.]

The Sept. 1 court order showed Pemberton’s camp paid damages to the Laude family in full – a total of P4.65 million- on Aug. 25, 2020.