Laude family condemns pardon granted to Pemberton

The family of slain transgender woman Jennifer Laude on Monday, Sept. 7, denounced the decision of President Duterte to pardon convicted United States Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton.

“On behalf of the Laude family and the entire membership of KILUSAN and KAISA KA, we strongly denounce the ABSOLUTE PARDON given by Duterte,” Atty. Virginia Lacsa Suarez, the legal counsel of the Laude family, said in a statement.

“This is another injustice not only to Jennifer Laude and family but a grave injustice to the Filipino people,” declared the lawyer.

Suarez described the grant of the pardon as “a travesty of Philippine sovereignty and democracy” and “another hallmark of Philippine's subservience to the US.”

“There are too many Filipino convicts, already in their twilight years serving their sentence, why give it to a foreigner, a US soldier who committed an atrocious crime?” pointed out the lawyer.

Suarez also lamented the killing of Laude “reflects the systematic discrimination and violence inflicted by US to Filipino women, children and the LGBTQ community.”

“There is so much disrespect in the manner by which Jennifer was killed--- reflective of the disrespect US has for the Philippines' democracy and sovereignty,” she said.

“The pardon given to Pemberton is a mockery of our judiciary and legal system, too,” she added.

Meanwhile, other groups have also denounced the decision of the President to grant pardon to Pemberton.

“Karapatan strongly denounces President Rodrigo Duterte’s granting of absolute pardon to convicted US marine Joseph Scott Pemberton as a despicable and shameless mockery of justice and servility to US imperialist interests,” human rights group Karapatan said in a statement.

With this, Karapatan assured that it will keep on demanding justice for Laude and push for the junking of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the US and the Philippines as well as other “lopsided” agreements with the US.

“By granting absolute pardon to Pemberton, Duterte is mocking the Filipino people, who, through decades, have been violated by US military intervention in the country — with the cold-blooded killing of Jennifer Laude as the latest of such reported crimes,” Karapatan said.

“Duterte is placing the interests of the US government above the Filipino people's demands for justice and accountability by pardoning Pemberton: this is an hard slap on the LGBTQ+ community and a blatant affront to our national sovereignty,” it added.

Likewise, the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) called the pardon as a “shameless sell-out.”

“What makes it even more atrocious is that his entitlements and liberty were apparently politically bartered through  an onerous and servile military agreement. What cheap price sovereignty and national dignity,” the NUPL said in a statement.