Duterte grants convicted Pemberton ‘absolute pardon’

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Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin Jr. announced that President Rodrigo Duterte has granted convicted US Marine Lance Corporal Jospeh Scott Pemberton “absolute pardon” for the killing of Jennifer Laude.

On Monday afternoon, Locsin tweeted: “Cutting matters short over what constitutes time served, and since where he was detained was not in the prisoner’s control—and to do justice—the President has granted an absolute pardon to Pemberton. Here at the Palace.”

Olongapo City Regional Trial Court’s Branch 74 said on September 1 that Pemberton was allowed to be released due to good behavior.

Pemberton has served a total of 2,142 days or over five years and eight months in prison, but the court credited to him a good conduct time allowance of 1,548 days or more than four years. This yields an accumulated jail time of 10 years, one month, and 10 days, the court said.

“Thus he is now entitled to be released for he had already served the ten (10) year maximum of his penalty,” the order, signed by Presiding Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde read. The Court of Appeals initially sentenced Pemberton up to 12 years of imprisonment, but this was later reduced to a maximum of ten years.

Edre Olalia, the president of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, said the decision was “ubelieveable,” adding it was timed to “pre-empt the possibility of any other adverse result to his case.”

“What makes it even more atrocious is that his entitlements and liberty were apparently politically bartered through an onerous and servile military agreement. What cheap price sovereignty and national dignity,” he said in a statement on Monday.

In October 2014, Laude was found dead in an Olongapo City motel room after a night out with Pemberton. Laude’s neck was blackened with strangulation marks, head rammed into a toilet.

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