MANILA, Sept 3 (Mabuhay) — Palace Spokesperson Harry Roque on Wednesday slammed the decision of an Olongapo court to approve the early release of United States (US) Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton, who was convicted of killing transgender woman Jennifer Laude in 2014.
In a statement, Roque was dismayed by the ruling of Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 74, directing the Bureau of Corrections to set Pemberton free.
“As former Private Prosecutor for the Laude family, I deplore the short period of imprisonment meted on Pemberton who killed a Filipino under the most gruesome manner,” Roque said.
Pemberton was sentenced to suffer six to 10 years imprisonment by the Olongapo City RTC Branch 74 in December 2015 for killing Laude inside a bathroom of a motel on October 11, 2014.
He is currently detained at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Custodial Center in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
Olongapo RTC Branch 74 Presiding Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde, in a decision issued on September 1, ruled that Pemberton has a total accumulated time served with entitlement of Good Conduct Time Allowance of 10 years, one month, and 10 days.
Ginez-Jabalde said the jail time Pemberton had already served is “more than the 10 years maximum penalty imposed by this court and affirmed by Court of Appeals.”
“Thus, he (Pemberton) is now entitled to be released for he had already served the 10-year maximum of his penalty,” the ruling read.
Following the court’s decision, Roque lamented that the US continues to enjoy the “conquering colonials” in the Philippines.
“Laude’s death personifies the death of Philippine sovereignty and the light penalty imposed on Pemberton proves that despite the President’s independent foreign policy, that Americans continue to have the status of conquering colonials in our country,” he said. (MNS)