AFP to wait for orders from higher authority on Pemberton custody
MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines is out of the loop in the legal process involving US Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton who was charged with the murder of Filipino transgender woman Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude in Olongapo City last October.
Col. Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesman, said the go-signal to turn over Pemberton to the Olongapo City court that issued the warrant for Pemberton’s arrest must come from higher authorities.
Padilla said the AFP’s role has been limited to providing custody and security of Pemberton during his detention in the US-provided container van inside Camp Aguinaldo.
He said that joint custody of the Philippine and US governments has been provided under the Visiting Forces Agreement.
“We are not in a position to receive any notice of court because there is an existing agreement between the two governments, in accordance with the provisions of the VFA,” Padilla said.
Padilla, however, stressed that the AFP would be ready for any order from the government with respect to the possible transport of Pemberton out of the military camp.
He stressed though that there was still no coordination between the two governments with respect to the movement of Pemberton, as of Wednesday.
“We are just waiting for the instruction. That’s the only role here of the AFP,” he said.
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