‘PH must demand for full custody of Pemberton for Laude slay probe’ | Global News

‘PH must demand for full custody of Pemberton for Laude slay probe’

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 03:15 PM October 22, 2014

 MANILA, Philippines — The transfer of a US Marine suspected of killing a Filipino transgender to Camp Aguinaldo was a positive development but the Philippines must still demand full custody of the American in accordance with the procedures of the country’s criminal justice system, a party-list lawmaker said Wednesday.

Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon said he welcomed the fact that Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton has been placed in a Philippine detention facility but expressed concern about the arrangement between the Philippines and the United States having “joint custody” over him.


“Transferring Pemberton to a Philippine detention facility is the result of the mounting public pressure for the suspect’s custody. While it is indeed a positive development, Philippine authorities must still demand for full custody,” he said in a statement.


Photo of US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton

Pemberton is the suspect in the killing of Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude in an Olongapo City motel earlier this month. He was transferred to a facility at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City via helicopter on Wednesday morning.


Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. announced at a press conference that Washington and Manila would have joint custody over Pemberton.

But Ridon said such an arrangement might not be advantageous to Philippine authorities at all, as they would still need to consult Washington on “each and every move they will make with regard to Pemberton’s case.”

“Besides, joint custody is not stated even in the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). Putting Pemberton’s in this gray area is akin to not granting custody over Pemberton to Philippine authorities at all,” he said.

Having joint custody would not help expedite the criminal investigation for the slay case, Ridon said. “The Aquino administration must still demand for clear, unequivocal surrender of Pemberton’s custody to the Philippines,” he stressed.

The lawmaker also called on the AFP not to give Pemberton any special treatment, saying he should not be placed in a separate air-conditioned detention facility.

“The AFP must not treat Pemberton like a VIP. After all, he’s not a distinguished visitor – he is the suspect in a heinous crime,” Ridon said.

He also maintained that the Pemberton case should be enough justification for the abrogation of the VFA.


“The situation we find ourselves in – a situation in which we hold a suspect in a Philippine detention facility yet we cannot decide on his activities without first consulting the US – is a result of VFA’s lopsided provisions,” he said.

“For decades, the VFA has made a mockery of Philippine laws, and it’s time that we put a stop to all this,” Ridon said.

US Marine suspect in transgender slay transferred to Camp Aguinaldo

Aquino: Pemberton getting ‘special negative treatment’ in Laude slay probe


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TAGS: AFP, Camp Aguinaldo, Department of Justice, Global Nation, Gregorio Pio Catapang, Jeffrey Laude, Jennifer Laude, Joseph Scott Pemberton, Kabataan Partylist, murder, Olongapo City, Terry Ridon, US Marines Corps., Visiting Forces Agreement
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