Filtered By: Topstories

Pemberton runs to De Lima, seeks dismissal of murder case

(Updated 5:18 p.m.) Murder suspect US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton has asked Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to dismiss the case filed against him for the killing of Filipino transgender woman Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude in Olongapo City.
In a 33-page petition for review filed by his counsel on Monday, Pemberton asked De Lima to set aside the Dec. 15, 2014 resolution of the Olongapo City Prosecutor's Office finding probable cause to charge the US serviceman with murder.
"Not only is the assailed resolution full of logical leaps and unwarranted conclusions, it also disregarded the fundamental principles pertaining to treachery as a qualifying circumstance in the crime of murder," read the plea.
In its resolution, the prosecutors who handled the preliminary investigation decided to file a murder case against Pemberton because of the presence of treachery, cruelty, and abuse of superior strength.
But Pemberton's camp said there must first be a "deliberate or conscious choice of a means of execution that insures the offender's safety from retaliatory act" from the victim before an act can be considered as a qualifying circumstance in murder.
Pemberton's camp also cited the Supreme Court ruling in the case of People v. Cajurao, which states that "treachery cannot be supposed where no particulars are known as to how the killing began."
Likewise, they said there was no direct evidence presented during preliminary investigation to show how the alleged attack was commenced and executed.

Further, the plea said mere surmises and conjectures from supposed witnesses were used during the initial probe, even as the object and documentary evidence presented were inadmissible.
Pemberton's camp also said there is cruelty only when the other injuries or wounds are inflicted deliberately by an offender, which are not necessary for the killing of the victim.

"Further, the victim must be alive when the other injuries or wounds were inflicted," read the petition. 

Pemberton is accused of killing the 26-year-old transgender woman, who was found dead inside a lodge in Olongapo City in October this year. She was last seen with Pemberton whom she reportedly met at a bar.
Pemberton was earlier transferred from the US Navy ship USS Peleliu docked in Subic to a US facility in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

'Nothing new'

Meanwhile, lawyer Harry Roque, legal counsel of the Laude family, said there was nothing new in the arguments raised by Pemberton's camp in the petition.
“This petition is just a rehash of arguments already raised before the Olongapo Fiscal Office,” Roque said in a text message to GMA News Online.
Roque was referring to the defense's comment on the murder complaint filed by the Philippine National Police against Pemberton on October 15.
Just last week, the Olongapo City Prosecutor's Office said that after conducting a preliminary investigation, they found probable cause to file a murder case against the US serviceman before the court.
Roque said the element of treachery is not a prerequisite for a crime to be qualified as murder.
“The evidence of murder are all based on forensics and science,” Roque said.
He said they will submit an opposition against Pemberton's petition for review by early January.

Murder raps vs. Pemberton
On December 15, Pemberton was charged with murder before the sala of Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde of the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 74.
Last Friday, the US Marine made his very first appearance in court, and also underwent booking procedures although his arraignment did not push through after his camp filed a motion to suspend the proceedings.
The US Embassy in Manila has repeatedly maintained Pemberton would remain under US custody despite being detained in a Philippine facility.
The prosecution on Monday has asked Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde to inhibit herself from hearing the murder case, after they found out that the judge was a classmate of Pemberton's counsel, lawyer Rowena Flores, at the San Beda College Law School. — with Elizabeth Marcelo/RSJ/NB, GMA News