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Guevarra says Duterte consulted him before Pemberton pardon

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Monday that President Rodrigo Duterte consulted him before granting Joseph Scott Pemberton, who was convicted for killing Jennifer Laude in 2014, an absolute pardon.

"Yes, I was consulted by the President before he made the decision," Guevarra said in a message to reporters.

"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.

Duterte pardoned Pemberton on Monday, completely extinguishing his criminal liability for the crime he was convicted of in 2015.

The pardon came as public prosecutors were prepared to join the Laude family in contesting a court order for Pemberton's early release on account of good conduct time allowances (GCTA).

Pemberton was convicted of homicide over the death of Laude, a 26-year-old transgender woman whose lifeless body was found in a motel room in Olongapo City on October 11, 2014.

He was sentenced to six to 10 years of imprisonment and had served over five years when an Olongapo judge ruled that he was entitled to be released given the GCTAs he supposedly earned on top of his actual time served.

The court said Pemberton had served a total of 2,142 days and earned 1,548 GCTAs. Taken together, this amounts to 3,690 days, or 10 years, one month, and 10 days -- more than the 10-year maximum penalty imposed on him, the court said.

The court heard the Laude family's motion for reconsideration on Monday morning. By the afternoon, Pemberton was pardoned. — DVM, GMA News