In late 2015, Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton was sentenced to between six to 10 years in prison for the October 2014 murder of a trans Filipina woman in a hotel in Olongapo, a port city about 125 km northwest of the capital, Manila.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has granted US Marine Joseph Pemberton an absolute pardon for the killing of 26-year-old Philippines national Jennifer Laude (born Jeffrey Laude), with the move prompting a backlash from the victim’s family and local rights groups.
The government’s announcement came after Olongapo City Regional Trial Court ordered Pemberton’s release late last week, citing good behaviour during time served. The Marine continued to be held despite the order due to an appeal by the Department of Justice. However, Duterte’s signature of the pardon order nullified the appeal.
In a statement, Virginia Suarez, legal counsel to Laude’s family, “strongly” denounced the decision to pardon Pemberton, calling it a “mockery of our judiciary and legal system” and “another injustice not only to Jennifer Laude and family but a grave injustice to the Filipino people”.
The attorney suggested that there are already “too many” convicted Filipinos serving into their twilight years, but that the president chose to pardon an American instead. “Why give it to a foreigner, a US soldier who committed an atrocious crime?” she…