MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is more than willing to provide any form of assistance to the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) in facilitating the release of US Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton, its spokesperson said Wednesday.
“Sa part ng AFP, wala kaming ginagawang preparasyon. BuCor naman kasi ang in charge sa detention, processing, and actual release sa preso nila (On the AFP’s part, we are not doing any preparation because BuCor is in charge of Pemberton’s detention, processing, and actual release),” Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a message to reporters.
Arevalo was responding to queries on whether the military is making any preparation for Pemberton’s release.
“Sa ngayon, wala pa naman silang request sa AFP (For now, they [BuCor] have yet to request assistance from the AFP),” he said.
Arevalo earlier said Pemberton is at the AFP Custodial Facility only under a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the AFP and BuCor.
“The MOA provides that the former will make available the detention facility while the latter retains the management and administration of the convicted detainees,” he said.
Pemberton was convicted of homicide and sentenced to six to 10 years imprisonment by the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 74 in December 2015 for killing Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude inside a bathroom of a motel on Oct. 11, 2014.
Olongapo RTC Branch 74 Presiding Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde, in a decision issued on September 1, ruled that Pemberton has a total accumulated time served with an entitlement of Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) of 10 years, one month, and 10 days.
In a public address on Monday night, President Rodrigo Duterte said he granted Pemberton absolute pardon because he believed that he was not treated “fairly” while detained because his GCTA credits were not recorded by the Philippine authorities.
The President may grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons under Article VII, Section 19 of the 1987 Constitution. (PNA)