Drilon expects US gov’t to comply with, respect decision on Pemberton
Senate President Franklin Drilon said he expects the United States government to comply with and respect the decision of a Philippine court that found an American soldier guilty of homicide for the death of Filipino transgender woman Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude in Olongapo City last year.
Since the crime was committed by US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton in Philippine territory, Drilon said the country “has to uphold and promote respect for the laws of our nation.”
“I am confident that the decision will not in any way affect the bilateral and diplomatic relationship of the Philippines and the United States of the America,” Drilon said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The crime was committed by an individual through his own acts in Philippine territory. The country has to uphold and promote respect for the laws of our nation. I expect the government of the United States of America to comply with and respect the decision.”
“The accused, US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, was given equal opportunity to defend himself before a court of law. He can avail of the remedies provided under our laws and Constitution,” the Senate leader added.
Drilon’s statement came a day after the Olongapo Regional Trial Court Branch 74 sentenced Pemberton to between six and 12 years in prison for the death of Laude and ordered Pemberton’s temporary detention at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
However, the US security security protecting Pemberton refused to surrender him to the Philippine National Police (PNP), which was tasked to deliver him to the national penitentiary.
The court later issued another ruling, directing the American soldier to return to his detention facility at the Joint US Military Assistance Group compound in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, for five days until the Visiting Forces Agreement Commission, Department of Justice, PNP and US Embassy issue a memorandum of agreement on where Pemberton would be detained.
Drilon also gave his full backing on the decision of the court on Laude’s killing, saying it was based on “applicable laws and jurisprudence, and according to what is just and right.”
“I also laud the Court’s ability to render its judgment within a reasonable time. Any further delay would have been prejudicial to both parties. Hence, I admire the Court for its perseverance, fairness, probity, and complete independence in handling the case,” he further said. RAM