Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Wednesday only four out of the 139 pardons granted by President Rodrigo Dutere went to foreigners.
Guevarra said two of the pardoned foreigners were covered by a prisoner exchange agreement with the United Arab Emirates. The other 135 pardoned inmates, he said, were Filipinos.
"This number is much more than the total number of pardons granted under the previous administration. Mas maluwag ang presidente [sa] pagbibigay ng pardons," he told ANC.
Earlier this week, Duterte granted absolute pardon to US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, who was convicted for killing Filipino transgender woman Jennifer Laude in 2014.
Pemberton is due for release by virtue of the pardon, which extinguishes his criminal liability, less than six years since he was detained. He was sentenced to imprisonment of six to 10 years in 2015.
The pardon came as government prosecutors were about to contest a court order for Pemberton's early release on account of deductions to the time he has to serve over "good conduct."
Guevarra earlier said "no one prompted" Duterte to pardon Pemberton. Even the US Ambassador seemed "surprised" by the development, he said. — RSJ, GMA News