President Rodrigo Duterte said homicide convict US Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton 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.
Duterte made the remarks shortly after he granted Pemberton absolute pardon amid issues surrounding the computation of his good conduct time allowance (GCTA). The court said Pemberton availed of GCTA and led to his early release.
“‘Pag walang record di mo malaman kung nabilang ba o hindi. Pag ka ganon hindi kasalanan ni Pemberton. He is not required to keep a record of his own and characterize his behavior while inside the prison,” Duterte said.
(Without a record, you do not know whether it is counted or not. If so, then it is not Pemberton’s fault.)
“So sabi ko kay Justice Secretary [Menardo Guevarra], [Executive Secretary Salvador] Medialdea… ‘Correct me if I’m wrong but ito ang tingin ko sa kaso [this is what I think of the case]. You have not treated Pemberton fairly. So i-release mo’ [release him],” he added.
Duterte: Pemberton not at fault on his GCTA computation
“Pardon. Ang pardon walang maka-question niyan. Kaligayahan ko na lang magpakulong ng mga buang, mga gago but it is time that you are called upon to be fair, be fair,” Duterte said.
(Pardon. Pardon, no one can question that. I am just happy to imprison the fools, idiots, but it is time that you are called upon to be fair, be fair.)
Pemberton was sentenced to six to ten years in prison for homicide in connection with the killing of Filipino transgender woman Jennifer Laude in 2014.
In its September 1 release order, the Olongapo RTC Branch 74 stated that Pemberton has a “total accumulated time served with entitled of GCTA of 10 years, one month and 10 days, which is more than the 10-year maximum penalty imposed by this court and affirmed by the Court of Appeals (CA).”