MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has questioned a local court’s decision to grant the appeal of US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton for an early release through good conduct time allowance (GCTA) credits.
Roque, who was the former private legal counsel of Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude’s family, said the Bureau of Corrections, which has the authority to grant GCTA credits, did not recommend any allowance for good conduct for Pemberton.
“Yung ginawa po ni Judge na siya na ang nagdesisyon kung paano siya bibigyan ng credit for good conduct is an instance of judicial overreach,” he said.
The Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 74 in an order dated September 1 said Pemberton should be released over good behavior.
Pemberton was sentenced six to 10 years in prison for homicide over the slay of Laude at a motel in Olongapo City in 2014. He has been held at a facility in Camp Aguinaldo pursuant to provisions of the Visiting Forces Agreement between the United States and the Philippines.
The court credited to him a good conduct time allowance (GCTA) of 1,548 days or more than 4 years plus a total of 2,142 days in detention which amounts to more than 10 years of the maximum penalty imposed on him.
The Palace official said that the court’s decision on Pemberton’s release is unjust.
“Very bad po, kasi parang pinapakita na di mahalaga ang buhay ng Pilipino. 5 taon lang sa ginuntuang hawla ang pwedeng maging parusa. Huwag naman po,” he said.
He also denied the claim of Pemberton’s lawyer that he and Laude’s family agreed to release the convicted American soldier on parole.
Roque added that the motion for reconsideration filed by Laude’s family should be resolved first, as well as the appeal that will be lodged by the government’s prosecutors.
The Department of Justice said it has directed the Bureau of Corrections to wait for the court’s resolution on the Laude family’s motion for reconsideration. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Friday expressed its condolences to the family, loved ones, friends, and followers of Bro. Eliseo “Eli” Soriano who passed away at the age of 73.
“Bro. Eli was a beloved preacher of Ang Dating Daan whose teachings touched the lives and served as guide to many,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
Brother Eli, a multi-awarded international evangelist, was the host of the longest-running religious program in the Philippines, “Ang Dating Daan” (The Old Path).
His death was confirmed in a statement issued by Members, Church of God International (MCGI) on Thursday.
“His dedication to propagate the words of God in the Bible was a clear testament of his steadfast love to serve his brethren and the Almighty,” Roque said.
“Our prayers go to Bro Eli as he may rest in eternal peace and happiness,” he added.
Brother Eli started his flagship program “Ang Dating Daan” in 1980. After years of challenges to find a permanent home, ADD and Bro. Eli’s other programs “Truth in Focus” and “Itanong mo kay Soriano” finally settled with UNTV on 2004.
He was forced to leave the Philippines in 2005 due to religious persecution. He settled in Brazil where he continued his global evangelization efforts.
He was known for his straightforward and courageous method of exposing errors in doctrines of various religious groups locally and abroad through his signature segment “Itanong Mo kay Soriano, Biblia ang Sasagot” – a non-scripted Bible Exposition being broadcasted live on TV and the internet where guests can ask impromptu questions which Bro. Eli answers with verses from the Scriptures.
MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday said he is “100 percent sure” that President Rodrigo Duterte wants Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong to stay as the country’s contract tracing czar.
This is despite Magalong’s move to tender his resignation from the post after he was recently criticized over his attendance at a party organized by media personality Tim Yap which allegedly violated health protocols.
In an online press briefing, Roque said Duterte only has “words of praises” for Magalong in his competence to lead the government’s contact tracing efforts against COVID-19.
“I have heard with my own two ears, nothing but words of praises for mayor magalong from the president, so I am 100 percent sure that president would want to stay on as tracing czar,” Roque said.
Roque last week announced that the National Task Force against COVID-19 has rejected the resignation of Magalong.
Magalong, in a media interview earlier, said his resignation was irrevocable but he might stay as a contact tracing czar if Duterte asks him to do so.
Manila, Philippines — Malacañang on Thursday (January 21) said the Philippines’ foreign policy with the United States (US) will remain under the administration of US President Joe Biden.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said both countries have similar priorities, including the interest of the citizens.
“Ang ating relasyong panlabas pareho namang consistent ang ating polisiya. Ang president po ay isinusulong ang indipendienteng panlabas na relasyon na ang inuuna po ay interes ng ating bayan at sambayanang Pilipino. Ganoon din po ang mga Amerikano (Our policies are consistent with our foreign relations. The president is pushing for an independent foreign relation which prioritizes the interest of Filipinos.Americans are also the same),” he said.
Roque noted both countries are also prioritizing their own national interest and independence as a nation.
“Isusulong nila ang pang-nasyonal na interes at siyempre po ang pakikipagkaibigan pero ang mga bansa ang kinakailangang isulong, ang kani-kaniyang interes (They are pushing for their national interest and of course, foreign ties, but the countries have their own interests to pursue),” the Palace official added.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier on Thursday sent his congratulatory message to President Joe Biden for the latter’s inauguration.
“Our president, Rodrigo Duterte, sends his warmest greetings and his best wishes to the 46th president of the United States, Joseph “Joe” Biden and to his vice president Kamala Harris,” Roque announced.
Meanwhile, several political analysts said the Biden Administration might be more vocal regarding the human rights situation in the country, particularly the national government’s war against drugs. -AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
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