US Marine pardoned by Philippines for killing of transgender woman

US Marine pardoned by Philippines for killing of transgender woman
Mr Pemberton is escorted by Philippine policemen shortly after arriving at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City on December 1, 2015. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: A US Marine convicted of killing a transgender woman in the Philippines in 2014 has been granted an “absolute pardon” by President Rodrigo Duterte. The case sparked outrage over alleged preferential treatment given to American military personnel on assignment in the country.

Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton has served about six years of the 10-year sentence he was given in 2015. He was convicted for killing Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old transgender woman, in a motel room in 2014.

Duterte’s action was announced on Monday by Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. and confirmed by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a report by the state-run Philippine News Agency (PNA).

It came after a court said last week that Pemberton should be given credit for good conduct during his time served in the Camp Aguinaldo military prison in Quezon City, rather than New Bilibid Prison, the country’s main penitentiary, CNN Philippines reported.

The court said, that credit amounted to more than four years and with time served after his arrest but before trial, Pemberton had served the 10 years required. Critics said it was easy for the US Marine to be on good behavior because he was able to serve his sentence alone rather than with the general prison population.

Locsin said in a Twitter post: “Cutting matters short over what constitutes time served, and since where he was detained was not in the prisoner’s control — and to do justice — the President has granted an absolute pardon to Pemberton.”

Rowena Flores, Pemberton’s lawyer, said Duterte’s decision was not something her client sought and that she first learned of it from the media.

She told CNN Philippines: “I thank our President for his pardon. I think with this development, justice is served and that the laws were followed.”

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