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Guevarra: Pemberton case should be taken into account on future of VFA

Alvin Murcia



Convicted killer former US Marines Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton leaves for the United States following his deportation Sunday morning.

The case of convicted killer former US Marines Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton should be taken into account in connection with the future of the Visiting Forces Agreement between the Philippines and United States.

This was according to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra as he expressed relief that Pemberton is now out of the country following his deportation Sunday morning.

“I am relieved to see the end of Pemberton episode. Though attended with intense conflict, it has provided insights and lessons to ponder on regarding the future of the Visiting Forces Agreement, the administration of criminal justice and the exercise of the President’s constitutional powers,” Guevarra said.

Pemberton as per the Bureau of Immigration (BI) was deported and boarded a military aircraft bound for the United States, at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, at exactly 9:14 a.m.

The former US soldier was convicted with homicide for killing transgender Jennifer Laude inside a motel in 2014.

President Rodrigo Duterte gave him absolute pardon after a trial court in Olongapo City ruled that he has served his maximum jail sentence of 10 years following the computation of his good conduct and time allowance (GCTA).

It was opposed by the Laude family and the Department of Justice (DOJ) but this was rendered moot by the pardon granted by the President.

Following Pemberton’s departure, Virginia Suarez, lawyer of Laude family wished the American peace of mind and hoped that he ‘learned from all these the value of life and dignity regardless of gender and nationality.’

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said as a consequence of Pemberton’s deportation, he has been placed in the bureau’s blacklist, thus, can no longer go back to the country.

Since 16 September 2015, Pemberton according to Morente has been in the BI’s blacklist when he was ordered deported by the BI’s Board of Commissioners for being an undesirable alien, after being charged for murder, and later convicted of homicide.

It was signed then by BI Chief Siegfred Mison, and Deputies Gilberto Repizo and Abdullah Mangotara.

Pemberton reportedly filed a motion for reconsideration in November 2015, which was subsequently denied.

“His criminal case is separate from his immigration case,” Morente explained.

He added the Bureau saw that he is a risk to public safety, having been found guilty of the crime, thus he was tagged as an undesirable alien.