Bayan slams US for ‘arrogance’ in defying court order on Pemberton
A militant group has slammed the United States for its “arrogance” in defying the court order detaining US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton at the National Bilibid Prison in Muntilupa City.
On Tuesday, the Olongapo Regional Trial Court (RTC) found Pemberton guilty of homicide for the killing of Filipino transgender woman Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude.
The court ordered Pemberton to be transferred from Camp Aguinaldo to the national penitentiary. However, US authorities have refused to turn over the US Marine to Philippine authorities despite orders from the RTC.
“Once again, the US gets its way. Pemberton’s US escorts openly defied a lawful order, inside a PH court no less. The US again invokes the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to ensure that even a convicted American soldier gets special treatment. It is revolting and underscores the need to terminate the lopsided VFA,” Renato M. Reyes Jr., secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Also appalling was the response of the Aquino government via the Department of Justice. The Executive sided with the US and supported Pemberton’s return to Camp Aguinaldo. Our own officials are spineless. They did not even stand up to US arrogance. They did not assert our national sovereignty,” Reyes added.
Although Bayan welcomed the conviction of Pemberton, the militant group assailed the “apparently short sentence of 6 to 12 years imprisonment,” adding that “this was not commensurate to the offense committed by the US Marine.”
“There can be no real justice if the Philippines cannot exercise its sovereignty in case such as Pemberton’s,” Reyes said.
He said the VFA “has been a long-running affront to our national sovereignty.”
“It makes a mockery of our judicial proceedings. It creates a special class of persons who are given special treatment. The VFA also creates the conditions for more crimes against Filipinos by American forces. Enough is enough,” he said.
The militant group supports calls for placing Pemberton in a Philippine penal facility without any special treatment. RAM
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