No special treatment for Pemberton release, BuCor says

Robie de Guzman   •   September 8, 2020   •   323

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) on Tuesday assured that no special treatment will be given to convicted US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton as they prepare for his release from detention.

Pemberton is set to walk free after President Rodrigo Duterte granted him an absolute pardon on Monday.

BuCor Spokesperson Gabriel Chaclag said they have started the preparations for Pemberton’s release although they have yet to receive a copy of the pardon.

Chaclag assured that the case will be treated as an ordinary release of an inmate and its process, which could take days, will be followed.

“At sa ngayon ay tini-treat natin na ordinary release ito ibig sabihin ay susundin po natin lahat yung mga process at hindi po tayo mag-i-skip,” he said.

“[Ang] gagawin siguro natin ay i-expedite lang po natin para matapos na rin po yung usapin,” he added.

The ordinary process for the release of inmates takes about four days to two weeks, the bureau said.

Chaclag further said that they will also await the directive from the Department of Justice before turning Pemberton over to the Bureau of Immigration

“Kukuha po tayo ng advice o directive sa DOJ kasi iba po ito sa ordinary pong foreigner ay itinuturnover po natin sa Bureau of Immigration,” he explained.

“Dahil may special case itong si PDL Pemberton, isasangguni po natin yan sa DOJ at kung sabihin nila na sa Immigration ay doon po handa po tayong mag turn over sa kanila,” he added.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the president’s granting of absolute pardon is enough to spur the BuCor to process Pemberton’s release from detention.

He will also direct the Bureau of Immigration to revoke the hold departure order issued against the American soldier, adding that he will not be treated like a deportee.

Pemberton was convicted of homicide for killing Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude in Olongapo City in 2014. He was sentenced to serve six to ten years in prison.

He has been detained in a facility at Camp Aguinaldo pursuant to the Philippines-US Visiting Forces Agreement.

Prior to Duterte’s pardon, an Olongapo court had ordered BuCor to recompute the time that Pemberton served and to determine if he is eligible to avail of the good conduct time allowance rule.

BuCor Chief, four other officers recover from COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 9, 2020

Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gerald Bantag and four other officers have recovered from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement, Dr. Henry Fabro, BuCor’s chief of Directorate for Health Service announced thatg Bantag, along with Public Information Office Chief Gabriel Chaclag and three other officers have tested negative for COVID-19. They are now officially cleared of the virus.

The said officers underwent a three-week quarantine after exhibiting mild to moderate symptoms.

Meanwhile, BuCor reported that there are 23 active cases in the agency, eight are persons deprived of liberty (PDL) while 15 are BuCor personnel.

According to the agency, strict observance of continuous rapid and swab testing has helped the BuCor in managing Covid-19 cases both for inmates and personnel. AAC

BOC, BJMP implement updated uniform manual for GCTA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 2, 2020

The Bureau of Corrections (BOC) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) have started implementing the updated uniform manual for the Republic Act 10592, the Expanded Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) Law.

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the delay for the implementation was brought about by issues that needed to be addressed. These include the rumored possible release of rape-slay and murder convict Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez.

Based on the new Implemented Rules and Regulations (IRR), heinous crime convicts cannot benefit from the GCTA Law. The IRR also defined what can be considered as a heinous crime.

Kung wala kang guide kung ano iyong heinous crimes hindi mo malalaman kung sino ba iyong dapat mabigyan ng GCTA (If you don’t have a guide on what heinous crimes are, you will not know who should benefit from the GCTA), Guevarra said. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

Pemberton case leaves lessons to ponder on for future of VFA – DOJ

Robie de Guzman   •   September 14, 2020

US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton

MANILA, Philippines – The case of convicted killer US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton should be taken into account in reviewing the future of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.

Guevarra made the remark following the deportation of Pemberton on Sunday morning, a few days after he was granted absolute pardon by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Justice chief believes that the issue also left lessons to ponder on regarding the administration of criminal justice in the country, as well as the presidential constitutional powers.

“I am relieved to see the end of Pemberton episode. Though attended with intense conflict, it has provided valuable insights and lessons to ponder on regarding the future of the visiting forces agreement, the administration of criminal justice, and the exercise of the president’s constitutional powers,” he said in a statement.

Pemberton departed from the country aboard a military aircraft bound for the United States at 9:14 a.m. on Sunday.

The Bureau of Immigration said that as a consequence of his deportation, Pemberton has been placed on the agency’s blacklist and can no longer return to the country.

“Perpetually banned na siya from entering the country and any attempt in the future to enter the Philippines hindi po siya papayagang pumasok. He will be excluded at pababalikin kung saan siya nanggaling,” said BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval.

The US serviceman was convicted of homicide for killing Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude inside a motel in Olongapo City in 2014.

Duterte granted him absolute pardon after an Olongapo court ordered the Bureau of Corrections to recompute the time that Pemberton served and to determine if he is eligible to avail the good conduct time allowance rule. – RRD (with details from Correspendent Dante Amento)

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