Murderer, rapist Pemberton does not deserve early release

Marco Valbuena | Chief Information Officer | Communist Party of the Philippines
August 28, 2020

US Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton does not deserve early release from imprisonment. He has not even properly served his sentence having been afforded the privilege of being “detained” in a “special military jail” inside Camp Aguinaldo.

The Party opposes Pemberton’s bid for a reduction of his jail term through the so-called “good conduct time allowance” as he has yet to rightfully suffer the consequences of his heinous crime. On the contrary, having enjoyed special privilege since his conviction in 2014, Pemberton’s 6-10 year jail must be extended.

It is a national shame that since being convicted of the October 2014 rape and murder of Jennifer Laude inside an Olongapo motel, the American marine officer has yet to be placed under the jurisdiction of the Philippine penitentiary system. Granting Pemberton early release will be a gross act of injustice to Laude and her family.

Pemberton’s specially-made facility inside the military camp is maintained by American military and security personnel. It is beyond the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, much less the Bureau of Corrections. Not even the AFP chief is allowed to enter the facility without asking permission from the US.

The special privilege afforded to Pemberton underscores the unjustness of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) which gives American military personnel extraordinary legal status while in the country, and by default shields them from legal action, in cases where they commit criminal violations.

The Filipino people must oppose Pemberton’s demand for early release and demand that he properly serve his sentence inside Philippine jail facilities. At the same time, they must reiterate their demand for the abrogation of the VFA and all other unequal treaties.