By Prince Golez
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday defended his decision to grant absolute pardon to convicted killer United States Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, citing issues in computing his good conduct time.
In a taped public address aired over state-run PTV-4, Duterte said it was not Pemberton’s fault if there is no official record of his detention and good behavior.
“Ang pagkwenta ay hindi alam nila, kung kasali o hindi at may record. Eh walang record kasi yung lugar, alindoon na detinado si Pemberton, sa Marines. Ang Marines never kept a record, hindi trabaho ng Marines ‘yan na magbantay kasi hindi yan sila BJMP o Muntinlupa,” according to the Chief Executive.
“Yung sa pagkapreso niya wala silang record. So pag walang record hindi mo malaman kung nabilang ba o hindi. Pagka ganon hindi kasalanan ni Pemberton. He is not required to keep a record of his own and characterized his behavior there inside while in prison,” he said.
“Isip-isip ko, nakikinig lang ako sa newspaper, pati sa radyo, sabi ko it is not fair. Hindi makatarungan. So sabi ko kay Justice Secretary, (Executive Secretary Salavdor) Medialdea, pati si Secretary Menardo Guevarra, ’It’s my decision to pardon. Correct me if I’m wrong but ito ang tingin ko sa kaso. You have not treated Pemberton fairly. So i-release mo’,” he added.
To recall, Pemberton was sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing Filipino transgender woman Jennifer Laude in 2014.
Early this month, the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court ordered the American soldier’s early release for good conduct and exemplary behavior.