Laude family lawyer insists court shouldn’t have issued release order for Pemberton

Published September 7, 2020, 9:36 AM

by Jeffrey Damicog

The Olongapo City court shouldn’t have ordered the early release of convicted United States Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, insisted the lawyer of the family of slain transgender Jennifer Laude on Monday.

US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton is escorted by police at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City in December 2015 (TED ALJIBE / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

“This is the height of mockery of justice. A travesty of our dignity, democracy, and sovereignty,” said lawyer Virginia Lacsa Suarez, legal counsel of the Laude family.

Because of this, Saurez believes both the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) “should have been enraged for they were divested of a power that exclusively belongs to them.”

“They should file their respective Motions for Reconsideration,” urged Suarez who is also the chairperson of the group Kaisa Ka and secretary general of Kilusan.

“The SolGen (Office of the Solicitor General) should likewise file the same or a Petition to Annul the said order,” she added.

The lawyer said the determination of Pemberton’s good conduct time allowance (GCTA) which was used by Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 74 Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde as basis for the issuance of the release order is “an executive function, not judicial.”

“Assuming for the sake of argument that she has jurisdiction, she still exceeded her power because the GCTA implementation remains suspended. GCTA implementation has been suspended since August, 2019,” Suarez said.

It can be recounted that in August, 2019, the DOJ and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) formed a committee to review the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) and uniform manual of the GCTA Law following the controversy over its implementation due to the discovery that unqualified persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) including convicted rapist and murderer former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez and other persons who committed heinous crimes were about to get or were already released early due to GCTAs they undeservedly earned.

“And even assuming it is not suspended— no evidence of good conduct was ever presented. No material basis for the Order,” Saurez said.

Suarez filed before the court last Sept. 2 a motion for reconsideration asking that the release order be “set aside” and “a new one be issued denying Pemberton’s early release.”

Pemberton was convicted for homicide in December, 2015, for the 2014 killing of Laude and was sentenced to imprisonment ranging from six to 10 years.