Pemberton won’t go to a regular jail
The Supreme Court has dismissed with finality a petition to transfer US Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton to a regular jail, a decision the family of slain transgender woman Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude has described as a “frustration of justice.”
In a news conference in Manila Wednesday, lawyer Theodore Te, high court spokesperson, said: “The court denied with finality the motion for reconsideration of the court’s decision dated Nov. 24, 2015, dismissing their petition” to put Pemberton, who was convicted of Laude’s slay, in a regular jail.
Pemberton is being held in a special military facility in Camp Aguinaldo.
Laude’s sisters, Marilou and Michelle, had asked the Supreme Court to reverse a decision issued on Dec. 23, 2014, by Judge Roline Jinez-Jabalde of the Olongapo Regional Trial Court which cited a technicality for dismissing their bid to have Pemberton detained in a regular jail.
Jabalde said the Laude family failed to comply with Section 5, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court, which states: “Every written motion required to be heard and the notice of the hearing thereof shall be served in such a manner as to ensure its receipt by the other party at least three days before the date of the hearing…”
The high court ruled that the Laude family’s reasons for not complying with the three-day notice rule were “unjustified.” It said the judge had not acted with grave abuse of discretion in denying the petition.
The high court also said the family’s bid to compel the Armed Forces of the Philippines to surrender Pemberton, without the conformity of the public prosecutor, was equally unjustified. In a Feb. 3 text message to the Inquirer, Suarez said court procedures were prescribed “to ensure justice, but never to frustrate substantial justice, especially so in this transcendental case.”
Reacting to the decision, the counsel for the Laude family, Virgie Suarez, said the high court elected to be “strictly technical [about court procedures] even to the point of frustrating substantial justice.”
She said Pemberton’s lawyers also disregarded the three-day notice on Dec. 1 last year, by filing a handwritten motion for clarification on the detention facility where Pemberton should be jailed.
That was the day Jabalde handed down Pemberton’s guilty verdict for killing Laude. She originally ordered his detention at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City pending a decision between the governments of the Philippines and the United States as to how he would serve his six-to-12-year prison sentence.
Jabalde later amended her ruling and placed Pemberton at the custodial center at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, after being informed about a government agreement on where Pemberton would be committed.
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