Militant groups: Pemberton should be brought to Bilibid immediately
MANILA, Philippines — Like anyone found guilty of violating Philippine laws, U.S. Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton should be detained in the New Bilibid Prison.
Militant groups raised this issue on Tuesday as they protested in front of the US Embassy during the promulgation of the verdict against Pemberton on Tuesday afternoon. Pemberton was found guilty of killing transgender Jennifer Laude and was sentenced to 12 years in prison for homicide.
“He violated our law so he should be detained here,” said Lean Flores, secretary general of the Gabriela Metro Manila chapter.
Protesters also slammed the court for finding the American soldier guilty of homicide, instead of murder, which would have drawn a punishment of life imprisonment.
“It is embarrassing that our own court watered down the ruling against an American who brutally killed a fellow Filipino,” said Andrew Zarate, of the LGBT group Bahaghari.
Zarate said it’s not enough to claim that Pemberton was not fully aware of what he’s doing because he was drunk.
“Bakit kasi dito nag lalasing at bakit dito nag paparaos (Why do they get drunk here and find sexual release here)?” Zarate said.
And while they were happy that Pemberton was found guilty of killing Laude, they couldn’t fully rejoice because the verdict was not murder.
Flores said that the guilty verdict only exposed the “faulty” Visiting Forces Agreement that has put the Philippines’ interests and sovereignty at a disadvantage.
“It only shows you that Filipinos will never get justice under the VFA,” she said. SFM
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