Duterte didn't make promise to Laude's family that Pemberton to stay in jail while he's president - Palace
President Rodrigo Duterte did not make a promise to the family of slain transgender woman Jennifer Laude that for as long as he is the president, US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton would remain in jail, Malacanang said on Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, who once served as Laude family's counsel, said that even if Pemberton has been released and deported to America, he would still undergo a court martial there.
"Well, unlike my other clients, for instance my clients in the Maguindanao massacae, Mrs. Laude did not meet our President. As far as I know, the President did not make any such promise," he said.
He stressed that what Duterte promised was to give justice for Laude's death.
"And Pemberton was imprisoned for almost six years," Roque said.
Duterte recently granted Pemberton absolute pardon, prompting the Bureau of Corrections to release the US serviceman from his imprisonment from an air-conditioned container van inside the military's Camp Aguinaldo headquarters in Quezon City instead of the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
Pemberton was convicted of homicide for killing Laude inside a motel in Olongapo City in 2014 after discovering that the victim was actually a male.
Roque said that since the mother of Laude confirmed that her family received financial aid from Duterte, he confirmed that it was true.
He said Duterte gave the Laude family financial aid three times. He refused to mention how much.
The spokesman also said that Pemberton's leaving the country was a deportation and not on his own volition.
"We have deported him for being an undesirable alien because he is a convicted killer. What the President erased was the balance of his (Pemberton's) imprisonment, but it did not erase the truth that Pemberton is a convicted killer," he stressed.
Roque said that when he was handling Laude's case during the pre-trial, when both parties were trying to reach a compromise, American authorities promised that trial against Pemberton would continue in the US if he would be released by the Philippine government.
"They promised that if Pemberton would be freed, that means it's only the process in the Philippines that would end. But when Pemberton returns (to US), his court martial proceedings will continue and it is from there that we will learn if there will be additional penalties for him and if his qualification to remain in service will continue," he added. Celerina Monte/DMS