Pemberton case an 'isolated' incident: PH military

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 13 2020 03:51 PM | Updated as of Sep 13 2020 04:10 PM

Pemberton case an 'isolated' incident: PH military 1
Pardoned homicide convict US Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton arrives at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport for his deportation. Bureau of Immigration/Handout

MANILA - The Philippine military said Sunday the case of pardoned homicide convict US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, who killed transwoman Jennifer Laude, was an "isolated" incident.

Pemberton, 25, was deported Sunday morning following President Rodrigo Duterte's grant of absolute pardon.

The US Marine served just over half of his 10-year homicide sentence at a facility guarded by the Bureau of Corrections at the Philippine military headquarters, instead of regular prison, under the US-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement.

Pemberton was in the country at the time he committed the crime as part of a joint military exercise.

"Stringent measures" are put in place at every iteration of training, said Armed Forces spokesman Major Gen. Edgard Arevalo.

"The incident that involved LCpl Pemberton is an isolated case. That does not embody the totality or the intent of training with our American counterparts —or with the armed forces of other countries for that matter," he said in a statement.

"But there could be one or two from among the many training participants who deviate from the established norms and desired conduct."

He added: "The lesson that the recent incident tells everyone is that no one is above the law— and that for any misconduct or transgressions, they will be punished accordingly."

During the trial, Pemberton, then 20, said he met Laude, 26, at a disco bar while on shore leave in Olongapo City in October 2014.

They later checked into a motel where Pemberton admitted to choking Laude after he discovered the victim was a transgender woman.

Laude was later found by the motel staff wrapped in a bed sheet, with her head slumped in the toilet bowl. A forensic pathologist testified that she died of asphyxia.

Duterte's move to pardon Pemberton drew criticism, with members of the LGBT community and counsel of the Laude family saying that the President had bargained the Filipinos' sovereignty to the US.