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Pemberton apologizes to Laude family, thanks Duterte for pardon

US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton on Sunday apologized to the family of slain Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude and thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for granting him absolute pardon.

In a message dated on the day of his release and deportation and released by his lawyer to media, Pemberton acknowledged the pain that he has caused to the Laude family.

“To the family of Ms. Jennifer Laude, he extends his most sincere sympathy for the pain he caused,” the message read as reported by Mark Makalalad on Dobol B sa News TV on Sunday.

“In the years he spent confinement, he spent much rime contemplating the many  errors in his ways regarding the night of October 11, 2014. He wishes he had the words to express the depth of his sorrow and regret,” he added.

Pemberton, who was convicted in 2015 for killing Laude in 2014, thanked Duterte for his compassion in granting him absolute pardon after serving only more than five years of imprisonment.

“Mr. Pemberton wishes to express his deepest gratitude to President Duterte for granting him an absolute pardon. He is extremely grateful for this act of compassion,” the message read.

In a statement on Sunday, Laude family’s lawyer Atty. Virgie Suarez wished Pemberton peace of mind and hoped that he learned the value of life and dignity regardless of gender and nationality.

The Bureau of Immigration said Pemberton, who was convicted in 2015 for killing Laude in 2014, was successfully deported from the Philippines on Sunday morning.

Pemberton was released by virtue of the absolute pardon given to him by the President just over five years into his service of a six-to-10-year prison sentence.

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. —Joviland Rita/KG, GMA News