MANILA (Mabuhay) — Senate President Franklin Drilon believes the Olongapo City court’s guilty verdict on the slay case of Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton will not affect the country’s relationship with the US.
“I am confident that the decision will not in any way affect the bilateral and diplomatic relationship of the Philippines and the United States of the America,” Drilon said in a statement released Wednesday.
He added: “The crime was committed by an individual through his own acts in Philippine territory. The country has to uphold and promote respect for the laws of our nation.”
The Senate leader also said that he expects the US to “comply with and respect” the ruling of the Olongapo Regional Trial Court Branch 74, finding Pemberton guilty of homicide for the killing of transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude in Olongapo City last year.
The court ordered Pemberton jailed in the New Bilibid Prisons, but US and Philippines government authorities agreed to keep the American convict detained at military headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
Drilon said he supports the court’s decision, which he believes was “based on applicable laws and jurisprudence.”
He further described the ruling as “just and right.”
“I also laud the Court’s ability to render its judgment within a reasonable time. Any further delay would have been prejudicial to both parties. Hence, I admire the Court for its perseverance, fairness, probity, and complete independence in handling the case,” he said.
Drilon also said that the court gave Pemberton an equal opportunity to defend himself.
“He can avail of the remedies provided under our laws and Constitution,” the senator added.
The US Embassy in Manila has declined to comment on the ruling.
It said that despite the decision, it will continue to proceed with the Visiting Forces Agreement. (MNS)