Pemberton’s detention in Camp Aguinaldo ‘only meant to appease public outrage’ – Bayan
MANILA, Philippines—The transfer of US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, a suspect in the killing of Filipino transgender woman in Olongapo City, to Camp Aguinaldo is only meant “to appease public outrage,” a militant group said Wednesday.
“The AFP is reduced to being perimeter guards of the US troops who are guarding Pemberton. The whole transfer to Aguinaldo is only intended to appease public outrage. We are being hoodwinked and our officials are allowing it,” Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes said in a statement.
A helicopter flew Pemberton into Camp Aguinaldo, the Philippine military’s main headquarters located in Quezon City, before 9 a.m. Wednesday.
He took part in the recently concluded US-Philippine war games. The slay case in which he was tagged as suspect happened as he was on a furlough.
Calls to review or scrap the Visiting Forces Agreement – which allows US troops to conduct military drills and humanitarian assistance and disaster response efforts – was revived because of the incident,
“He will be detained in a 20-foot container van that will be installed with iron bars. He has a military type cot-bed and an air-conditioning system,” Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Gregorio Catapang Jr. said.
He added the personnel of the US Marine Custodial Unit would post guards inside his detention cell while the military police of the General Headquarters will secure the outside perimeters of the facility. Pemberton was previously detained aboard the USS Peleliu, an American warship that took part in the recent joint military drills.
“Right now, custody of Pemberton remains with the US even inside Camp Aguinaldo. There is no joint custody under the VFA. Only US soldiers have access to Pemberton. The US brings Pemberton’s food. The US Marines are with Pemberton inside his detention facility,” Reyes said.
The US Embassy in Manila also made it clear that the US will retain custody of Pemberton until the completion of all judicial proceedings.
Pemberton is the second US serviceman to be involved in a crime. In 2005, a US Marine was also convicted of raping a Filipina in Olongapo but he was acquitted after the testimonies against him were recanted by the victim. Until his acquittal, he stayed with the US Embassy.
Subscribe to our global nation newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.