PNoy: Court ruling on
Pemberton case will strengthen US-PH relations
ROME, Italy, Dec. 6 -- President Aquino said he believes the court
ruling on the case of US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton will
further strengthen the relationship between the Philippines and the US
because the two countries both respect the rule of law.
In an interview with the Philippine media here on Friday, the President was
asked about his thoughts on the Olongapo court ruling and how it will affect
the defense ties between the US and the Philippines.
Pemberton has a right to appeal the court ruling, but his conviction also
shows that the country's courts can issue fair judgment, the President said.
"The rule of law happens in our country. It is respected by the other state.
Therefore, it redounds to both parties’ benefits na hindi unequal," the
President said in the interview.
"Mayroon tayong equality among two equally sovereign states na ‘pag may
ginawa kang kasalanan, mayroon kang pagagalitan na dapat niyang pagbayaran."
"Ang diretso ‘non, lalong na-enhance ‘yung ating relationship between us and
The President also allayed fears that Pemberton will be given special
treatment while in detention especially because he is being held at a
military camp and not in the national penitentiary.
Pemberton is actually in a facility controlled by the Philippines, inside
the facility of the the AFP, which is already being manned by Bureau of
In effect, this is an extension of the Bilibid and consistent with the
agreements under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), he explained.
Under the VFA there is an "agreed upon detention facility" by both sides for
military personnel who will be accused or convicted of crimes.
But putting a convicted military personnel like Pemberton in separate
facility rather the usual prison cell doesn't mean he is being given special
treatment, he said.
"Yung mga ganoong klaseng tanong wala namang kasagutang maayos e. Bottom
line, bilang sovereign state, may agreement tayo with another sovereign
state," he said.
"Nandiyan na ‘yan, nag-rule ‘yung ating mga korte; una muna, iniharap si
Pemberton sa korte, nasentensyahan ng ating korte at babantayan ng ating mga
personnel para i-serve ‘yung kanyang sentence."
An Olongapo court on Tuesday ruled that Pemberton is guilty of homicide and
not murder over the killing of transgender woman Jennifer Laude.
Pemberton will face imprisonment from six to 12 years and was also ordered
by the court to pay P50,000 as civil indemnity and P4.32 million to Laude's
family as damages for loss of earning capacity.
The accused was also ordered to pay P155,255 as reimbursement for the wake
and burial of the victim, P50,000 for moral damages and P30,000 for
Under the VFA, the confinement or detention of a US personnel shall be
carried out in facilities agreed on by US and Filipino authorities, the
court noted in its ruling. (PCOO/PND