Send Pemberton to Olongapo jail, court asked
OLONGAPO, Philippines – The Laude family asked a court on Friday, December 19, to order authorities to put murder suspect US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton in the Olongapo City jail.
Lawyers representing the family of slain transgender Filipina Jennifer Laude asked the Olongapo Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 74 to compel the surrender of the 19-year-old accused to a jail designated for detainees on trial and under the jurisdiction of the court.
"Hence, it is respectfully prayed that the Honorable Court order and compel, the Armed Forces of the Philippines or any officers/persons having actual custody of the Accused, to surrender custody of the Accused to the Olongapo City Jail," read their motion filed Friday afternoon.
Pemberton continues to be under the custody of his own government, the United States. On December 17, the US rejected a Philippine request for custody over the American Marine.
Harry Roque and Virgie Suarez, lawyers of the Laude family, insisted that the sole custody of Pemberton must be with Philippine authorities, considering his voluntary surrender to the RTC Friday morning. (READ: Pemberton appears in Olongapo court)
Even the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) stipulates that "Philippine authorities shall have primary jurisdiction over all offenses committed by United States personnel," they further argued.
Echoed in the motion is an argument earlier raised by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima that the Philippine government may refuse a US request for custody in cases "of particular importance," which they said applied to Pemberton's non-bailable criminal offense.
The said exception for "extraordinary offenses" is based on Department of Justice (DOJ) Circular No 91 and DOJ Opinion No 19, the motion read.
Laude's sister Marilou also called on government authorities to ensure Pemberton does not receive special treatment in detention.
"No special treatment. Equal treatment. Kung ano yung mga nangyari, kung ano yung mga ginagawa, o kung ano yung trinatrato ng mga ordinaryong nakakulong, ganon din ang trato sa kanya."
(No special treatment. Equal treatment. Whatever is happening, whatever is being done, or whatever is the treatment for ordinary detainees, that is how he should be treated.)
Pemberton, a US anti-tank missile man born in Bristol, Massachusetts, is accused of killing Laude in mid-October.
Laude's tragic death in Olongapo City in October reignited talks on ending US military presence in Philippine soil sanctioned under the VFA.
One of these VFA-sanctioned military drills brought Pemberton to the country. – Rappler.com