Duterte’s pardon to Pemberton not ‘out of the blue’ – DOJ chief

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to grant absolute to Marine L/Cpl. must have a basis and not “out of the blue.”

The DOJ chief admitted he was a “bit taken aback, a bit surprised” with the President’s decision, but he said Duterte must have a basis when he gave the US Marine a pardon, allowing him to be released from prison after almost five years.

“Of course we have to presume that the should have some basis in granting the executive clemency as in the case of Mr. Pemberton. For example he was aware about the issue surrounding his release,” Guevarra tol ANC’s Headstart.

“It’s not something like as if it’s so arbitrary, so whimsical, so just out of the blue. The president has also some basis in his own mind,” he added.

Guevarra said Duterte called him to his residence and told him about his decision at around the time he learned Laude’s family and Olonggapo prosecutors in preventing the early release of Pemberton due to account of the Good Conduct and Time Allowance law.

Duterte’s pardon to Pemberton not ‘out of the blue’ – DOJ chief

“He didn’t explain who prompted him if there was any it appeared to me that it was his own volition, upon his own volition,” Guevarra said.

He added that the President had immediately explained why he came up with the decision which is what he explained during a public address on Monday.

said  is not at fault if the Philippine authorities were not able to monitor his behavior while he was in jail, adding the US soldier was not treated fairly.

Pemberton was sentenced to six to ten years in prison for homicide in connection with the killing of Filipino  woman Jennifer Laude in 2014.

“After hearing what he said, which I did not find to be objectionable anyway, he had some points. I thought it was improper for me to question it because that’s really a personal act of grace, a personal act of clemency on his part,” the DOJ chief said.