The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) said it is preparing for the release of convicted US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton after receiving an absolute pardon from President Rodrigo Duterte, BuCor spokesman Gabriel Chaclag said Tuesday.
The official said they are still waiting for the official copy of Pemberton’s pardon.
According to Chaclag, it is their first time to encounter an American getting pardoned since Director General Gerald Bantag lead the BuCor.
“Ito pong kaso ni Pemberton ay tinuturing namin na first time at ‘yung pag-process naman sa kanya ay hindi naman po natin binibigyan ng espesyal na turing. We consider it as an ordinary release,” he said on Dobol B sa News TV.
(We consider Pemberton’s case the first time, and we do not give special treatment to him. We consider it as an ordinary release.)
Chaclag assured that Pemberton would go through the normal process for the release of inmates, including pardonees and parolees. “I-expedite lang natin para matapos na rin ‘yung usapin [we will expedite it to finish the issue],” he said, adding the process could take days.
“Only that we have to consider all implications ng ating ginagawa, dahil nga po itong PDL (person deprived of liberty) na ito ay covered din siya ng ibang agreement,” he added.
Pemberton’s stay in the Philippines is covered by the Philippines-US Visiting Forces Agreement.
BuCor prepares to release Pemberton
According to Pemberton’s lawyer Rowena Flores, she “didn’t really personally apply for any pardon from the President” for her client.
“I didn’t know that any was forthcoming or that anybody filed an application for pardon on his behalf,” she told ANC.
Flores added she only learned Duterte granted absolute pardon to Pemberton from media reporters.
“I don’t really know what happened,” Flores said when asked if this could have been an agreement between Manila and Washington.