MANILA - The camp of Jennifer Laude, whose killer Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton has been granted absolute pardon by President Rodrigo Duterte, said the case's development could be a diversionary tactic to cover up government's supposed incompetence in handling the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Isa ba itong diversionary tactic ng gobyerno para pagtakpan ang kaiyang incompetence, para pagtakpan ang graft and corruption na ngayon ay nakasalang,” said Virgie Suarez, the Laude family’s legal counsel.
(Is this a diversionary tactic by the government to cover its incompetence, to cover graft and corruption?)
It could also be part of a compromise for the return of US soldiers in Subic and takeover Hanjin.
“Kasama ba ito sa kondisyon sa pagpapautang ng US na $2-B pambili ng mga armas?” she asked.
(Is this part of the condition for the $2B sale of weapons.)
Duterte gave absolute pardon to Pemberton just as the justice department planned to question the early release that a court granted to him due to good conduct credits.
The Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 74 had earlier granted Pemberton's plea for release after finding he has served beyond his 10-year prison sentence under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) rule.
“That cut short all these legal processes kaya nakakalungkot at nakakagalit yung ganun aktuwasyon nang paggamit mo ng kapangyarihan nang ‘di para sa interes ng mamamayan kung ‘di para sa interes ng banyagang sundalo,” she said.
(That cut short all these legal processes that’s why its saddening and infuriating that the use of power benefits not the interest of the Filipino public but of the foreign soldier.)
Duterte's pardon clears all legal obstacles to the soldier's release, despite him serving just over half his 10-year sentence.
Suarez, in an interview on TeleRadyo, said Duterte even promised Laude’s mother Julita in a meeting arranged by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque sometime in 2017 that the US soldier won’t be released under his term.
“Bakit biglang nagkaganun? Bakit biglang may absolute pardon,” Suarez asked.
(Why did it turn that way? Why was there suddenly an absolute pardon.)