DOJ: Pemberton to remain in Camp Aguinaldo
MANILA, Philippines — Despite the US Embassy request for custody of US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, the Department of Justice said on Tuesday that the Philippine National Police has been instructed to take custody of the American soldier so he could be transported to Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, where he would be received by Bureau of Corrections personnel.
The Olongapo City Regional Trial Court found Pemberton guilty of homicide for the killing of transgender Jennifer Laude in 2014. He was sentenced to a minimum of six years and a maximum of 12 years in prison. The court ordered him imprisoned at the New Bilibid Prison. But the Visiting Forces of Agreement signed by both the Philippines and United States allow for special arrangements between the two countries on the issue of custody of the prisoner during the appeal proceedings.
“He (Pemberton) will be transported, under the guard of personnel of the Philippine National Police, to Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. He shall be received by personnel of the BuCor and immediately detained there until his appeal is decided with finality by our courts,” the DOJ said in a statement.
As of 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Justice Undersecretary Emmanuel Caparas told reporters that Pemberton was “already on his way Camp Aguinaldo under PNP guard.”
According to the DOJ, Pemberton’s transfer to another detention facility is “possible” “at some point,” as provided under the Visiting Forces Agreement.
“In any case, his detention shall at all times be carried out within Philippine territory, under guard by and in line with existing regulations of the BuCor, in observance of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Nicolas v. Romulo (11 Feb 2009),” the DOJ added.
Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs expressed full support on Tuesday for the continued detention of Pemberton at Camp Aguinaldo. The DFA said that under the Visiting Forces Agreement between the Philippines and the United States, Pemberton should be detained at Camp Aguinaldo.
“The VFA provides that the confinement or detention by the Philippine authorities of US personnel shall be carried out in facilities agreed on by appropriate Philippines and US authorities,” Assistant Secretary Charles Jose, spokesperson for the DFA, said in a text message.
“In this case, the agreed location is in Camp Aguinaldo,” Jose said.
The DFA refused to issue further comments and deferred to the Department of Justice on the matter. SFM
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