'Act of right and fairness': Locsin defends Duterte pardon for Pemberton

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 08 2020 10:00 PM

MANILA - Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Tuesday defended the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to grant absolute pardon to US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, who was convicted for the killing of transgender woman Jennifer Laude. 

In a tweet, Locsin said “Only rabid anti-Americans see wrong in an act of right and fairness.” 

“There you go. Only rabid anti-Americans see wrong in an act of right and fairness. Now America knows who are its friends and who are its implacable enemies in the Philippines,” Locsin said.

Duterte on Monday pardoned Pemberton, convicted in 2015 for killing Laude. Days earlier, a local court ruled that the soldier is eligible for early release under a law that shortens jail time due to good conduct.

Duterte said Pemberton should have been presumed to have exhibited good moral character while imprisoned, given that authorities did not report otherwise.

It was Locsin who initially announced the granting of absolute pardon on Twitter.

Laude was killed by Pemberton on Oct. 11, 2014 at a motel in Olongapo City, north of the capital Manila, after finding out that the former had male genitals after an intimate act. Her body was found wrapped in a bedsheet with her head slumped in the toilet bowl.

A forensic pathologist testified that Laude died of asphyxia.

Pemberton was in the country at the time the crime was committed for a military exercise involving Philippines and U.S. troops.

He was sentenced in December 2015 to 6 to 10 years in prison for homicide, but was declared eligible for early release by an Olongapo court last week.