Laude family devastated over Pemberton release

Published September 3, 2020, 11:01 AM

by Jeffrey Damicog

The family of slain transgender Jennifer Laude is devastated upon learning that his killer, United States Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, is about to be released, their lawyer said today.

Supporters hold up posters of transgender Filipina Jennifer Laude during a protest near the courthouse in Olongapo City, Philippines, on February 23, 2015 (AFP Photo/Noel Celis)

“Devastated ‘yung family (The family is devasted),” said Virginia Lacsa Suarez, the legal counsel of the Laude family, during an interview over CNN Philippines.

“They believe that Pemberton should be serving his sentence,” the lawyer said.

Pemberton, who is detained in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, was convicted in 2015 for the 2014 killing of Jennifer and was sentenced to prison from six to 10 years.

Though Pemberton has paid the Laudes around P4.6 million for civil liability over the death of Jennifer, Suarez said “they believe the payment of the civil liability is distinct and separate from the criminal liability.”

“The criminal liability of course means for Pemberton to serve his sentence and barely five years pa lang nakakulong si Pemberton (Pamberton has been detained barely five years),” she said.

Suarez said she only learned last Aug. 26 that Pemberton filed a motion seeking his early release and the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 72 last Tuesday issued a release order.

She immediately filed that day a motion for reconsideration asking that the Olongapo RTC Branch 72 to recall its release order and have Pemberton serve his remaining sentence.

Suarez said that “the GCTA (Good Conduct Time Allowance) Law is very clear on how good conduct is defined.”

“In fact it mentioned a good conduct is measured by active participation and rehabilitation activities, productive participation in authorized work and exemplarities,” she said.

“There was no certification whatsoever presented to that effect,” she added.

Read more: Laude’s lawyer questions release order of ‘privileged’ Pemberton