News Release

President Duterte on Pemberton’s pardon: I’m not favoring anybody

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on September 7, 2020. ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday said he was fair and did not favor anyone in granting US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton absolute pardon.

“I am not favoring anybody — neither Pemberton, nor the family [of Laude],” President Duterte said in his televised address. “But you know if there is a time where you are called upon to be fair, be fair, be fair.”

The Philippines did not treat Pemberton fairly, the President said, prompting him to grant the American soldier absolute pardon.

It was not Pemberton’s fault, he said, if his good conduct time allowance (GCTA) was not recorded while in incarceration.

The US serviceman is not required to keep a record of his own and characterize his behavior while inside the prison, the President said, noting there should be no question regarding Pemberton’s pardon.

“So it is not the fault of Pemberton na hindi na na-compute because we should allow him the good character presumption kasi wala namang nag-report na Marines na nagsabi nagwawala siya,” he explained.

Pemberton was sentenced to 10 years in prison in December 2015 over the killing of Filipino transgender woman Jennifer Laude.

A court in Olongapo ordered the release of Pemberton arguing he has served his sentence after taking into account the good conduct time allowances he accumulated while in detention. PND