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Pemberton to face court martial in US —Roque


American serviceman Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, who was convicted and deported for killing Filipino transgender woman Jennifer Laude, will face court martial proceedings in the United States, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Monday.

[Read: Timeline of Jennifer Laude slay case]

Roque said this was promised by US authorities during the pre-trial on the case against Pemberton.

“Pag-uwi raw po ni Pemberton tuloy pa rin 'yung kanyang court martial proceedings at doon po malalaman kung meron pang additional na parusang ipapataw sa kanya at 'yung kanyang qualification to remain in service,” Roque, a former lawyer of the Laude family, said in a televised briefing.

The Palace official said he made the revelation as part of his advocacy to disseminate information on “matters affecting the public interest.”

Pemberton was deported on Sunday after he was granted pardon by President Rodrigo Duterte just over five years into his service of a six- to 10-year prison sentence for homicide. 

The absolute pardon extinguished Pemberton's criminal liability and rendered moot the emerging legal debate on whether he was entitled to early release for "good conduct."

Days before the pardon, a court in Olongapo ordered his release, saying he was considered to have served one month over his maximum penalty of 10 years because of good conduct time allowances (GCTA) on top of his actual time served.

Laude's family and public prosecutors were contesting the court order when Duterte granted the pardon.

Duterte said Pemberton was not duly monitored for GCTAs. He claimed that authorities did not treat the American fairly.

Roque, meanwhile, linked the pardon to Duterte's desire for the Philippines to gain access to US-made vaccines against COVID-19. 

Pemberton killed Laude in October 2014 in a fit of rage inside a motel in Olongapo. He was found guilty of homicide in 2015, which was upheld by the Court of Appeals in 2017. 

On Sunday, Pemberton apologized to the Laude family, saying he wished 
he had the "words to express the depth of his sorrow and regret." 

Meanwhile, at the same briefing, Roque disputed the claim of Laude's mother Julita that Duterte had promised that Pemberton would not be released while he is the chief executive.

Roque said Laude’s mother Julita has never met the President.

“Ang alam ko po, walang ganiyang promise ang Presidente. Ang pangako po ni Presidente ay bibigyan ng katarungan ang pagkamatay ni Jennifer Laude, at nakulong naman po si Pemberton nang halos anim na taon,” he said. —KBK/KG, GMA News

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