President Rodrigo Duterte personally defended his decision to grant absolute pardon to convicted US Marine LCpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton.
President Duterte made this statement a few hours after the report came out that he had pardoned Pemberton amid the issue of computation of his good conduct time allowance (GCTA).
In his “People’s Report”, President Duterte said it was not Pemberton’s fault if they miscalculated his GCTA credits.
“‘Pag walang record di mo malaman kung nabilang ba o hindi. Pag ka ganon hindi kasalanan ni Pemberton. He is not required to keep a record of his own and characterize his behavior while inside the prison,”Duterte said.
“So sabi ko kay Justice Secretary, Medialdea, pati si Secretary… ‘Correct me if I’m wrong but ito ang tingin ko sa kaso. You have not treated Pemberton fairly. So i-release mo’,”he added.
Therefore, the Chief Executive also believes that he was only fair in granting absolute pardon to American soldiers.
“Pardon. Ang pardon walang maka-question niyan. Kaligayahan ko na lang magpakulong ng mga buang, mga gago but it is time that you are called upon to be fair, be fair,”said the president.
It will be recalled that based on the decision of the Olongapo Regional Trial Court, Pemberton is said to have qualified for GCTA for complying with the regulations of the Bureau of Corrections.
He also served beyond the maximum penalty of 10 years for serving a homicide case for the murder of transgender woman Jennifer Laude in 2014.
Pemberton has already been jailed for 2,142 days and added 1,548 days to his good behavior under the GCTA rule.
But on the Laude family side, they questioned how GCTA was computed and what was the proof of Pemberton’s good behavior in prison.
Pemberton was detained at a facility in Camp Aguinaldo in accordance with the provisions of the Visiting Forces Agreement between the Philippines and the United States.