MANILA--Only state broadcaster PTV-4 will cover the departure of pardoned US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced Saturday night.
But PTV-4 will provide other media with access to its feed, BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said in a statement.
However, Sandoval is “unable to share” specific flight details regarding Pemberton’s deportation, citing security concerns.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra initially raised the possibility of allowing 1 or 2 reporters to cover Pemberton’s departure in an interview on Teleradyo Friday morning.
“Gusto ko rin siyang makita para na rin sa kapakanan ng mga taong bayan na nagdududa na special treatment siya, nakaalis na siya. Just to make sure na ang mga tao naniniwala na dumadaan siya sa tamang proseso. Payag naman ako na may magcover din sa kanya, 1 or 2 reporters na pruweba na ito,” he said on the program “On The Spot.”
(I also want to see him and also for the sake of the public who might be suspecting that he is being given special treatment or that he has left the country. Just to make sure that the people will believe that he went through the right process, I agree to have 1 or 2 reporters cover his departure to prove this.)
Guevarra later told reporters he will discuss the matter with the Immigration bureau.
Justice Spokesperson Undersecretary Markk Perete said that while the Immigration bureau will handle deportation formalities, the DOJ will decide on related arrangements, such as documentation of the actual deportation.
Pemberton, who was sentenced in December 2015 to up to 10 years in jail for killing transgender woman Jennifer Laude in a motel room in Olongapo in October 2014, was released by the Bureau of Corrections to Immigration personnel lunchtime Friday on the basis of an absolute pardon granted by the President.
The BI had ordered his deportation in 2015 but could only implement it after he had served his sentence. The presidential pardon extinguished his criminal liability.
Sandoval said Saturday that required documents for Pemberton’s deportation, including the National Bureau of Investigation clearance, have been submitted. But they were waiting for his travel documents and details of his flight schedule.
“We’re hoping within one or two days, so this weekend ’yun or possibly early next week,” she said.
The unexpected pardon of Pemberton drew condemnation from rights activists, LGBTQIA groups, and the Laudes, with Laude’s mother speaking out Friday, saying President Rodrigo Duterte had vowed that, for as long as he is President, Pemberton would not be set free.
Activists also denounced Pemberton’s apparent incarceration at an air-conditioned special facility in Camp Aguinaldo, and the Olongapo court’s grant of good conduct time allowance (GCTA) credits to a US servicemen as other Filipino prisoners await the release of a uniform manual to govern grant of GCTA credits.