Lawyer Virgie Suarez said it was slain transgender Jennifer Laude, not homicide convict US Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, was unfairly treated, adding President Rodrigo Duterte does not seem to know a lot about the case.
“Para sabihin niya na si Pemberton ay unfairly treated, walang basehan. If there’s anyone who is unfairly treated dito ay si Jennifer Laude, ang pamilya ni Laude, at buong mamayang Filipino,” Suarez said in an interview on Unang Hirit.
President Rodrigo Duterte said in a televised briefing that 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.
“‘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.)
Jennifer Laude unfairly treated, not Pemberton – lawyer
“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.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, meanwhile said, Duterte consulted him before granting the pardon to Pemberton. “Yes, I was consulted by the President before he made the decision,” he told reporters on Monday.
“Pardon is an act of grace on the part of the chief executive. He may exercise this plenary power of executive clemency at any time and under any circumstance,” he added.
Suarez said it would be almost impossible to reverse Pemberton’s pardon since the President’s power is discretionary and inherent.
“Kaya ang paggamit dito ay hindi dapat inaabuso ng President,” Suarez said.
“Kaya nga ang tindi ngayon ng outcry against this exercise ni President ng power. It is an exercise of an authoritarian mind. Gumagamit ka ng kapangyarihan hindi sa interes ng mamamayang Filipino pero para lang sa interes ng dayuhan,” he added.