While deserving Filipino persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) have been made to wait, an organization of lawyers have expressed dismay that United States Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton was given a “red carpet” for his undeserved early release from imprisonment.
The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) pointed this out since Pemberton has been serving his prison sentence in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City instead at the national penitentiary.
“And what takes the cake is that many other helpless and hapless yet deserving persons deprived of liberty are made to wait what could be Godot which may never come by authorities who vacillate and drag their feet perhaps because they just have eyes only for wards of foreign masters who are given the red carpet to walk away from ignominy,” the NUPL said in a statement.
The group cited that “persecuted political prisoners are still in limbo, denied for months of their pleas for a reprieve if only to avoid the curse of the pandemic for them and, in one heart wrenching case, even a newborn baby.”
The NUPL is referring to the case of Reina Mae Nasino who is detained for alleged illegal possession of firearms and explosives and had her newly born baby taken from her upon a court order.
“In principle we are fine with reformative or rehabilitative measures towards those validly convicted of crimes and that these should be equitably applied to all deserving and truly remorseful,” the NUPL said.
“But we could not in conscience accept a foreign serviceman given special treatment and extraordinary privileges from the get go for a monstrous crime
and then – when everybody is distracted and distressed – springing a surprise on us all by walking by virtue of contrived ‘good conduct’ while isolated and sheltered from the native hoi polloi,” it declared.
The group also hit the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) which Pemberton also invoked before the RTC to keep him in a detention facility in Camp Aguinaldo.
The NUPL said “his entitlements and liberty were apparently politically bartered through an onerous and servile military agreement.”
“What cheap price sovereignty and national dignity,” it lamented.