President Benigno Aquino 3rd gave assurances that no special treatment will be given to US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton who was recently convicted for the killing of Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude.
In an interview with the Philippine media in Italy, Aquino said Pemberton is serving his jail term in an extension facility of the New Bilibid Prison in line with the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States.
“He is actually in a facility controlled by the Philippines. The facility in the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines], at the ISAFP [Intelligence Service of the AFP], is going to be manned by Bureau of Corrections personnel or is already being manned by Bureau of Corrections personnel,” Aquino told reporters.
“In effect, this is an extension of the Bilibid and consistent with the agreements under the VFA,” he added.
Under the VFA, Aquino said there is an “agreed upon detention facility” for military personnel accused or convicted of crimes.
He explained that detaining Pemberton in a separate facility rather than a regular prison cell does not mean he is being given special treatment.
“Bottom line, as a sovereign state, we have an agreement with another sovereign state. The court has rendered a decision, and our personnel will see to it that he serves that sentence. And our personnel will be guarding him in a facility under the control of the Philippines,” Aquino said.
Under the VFA, the confinement or detention of a US personnel shall be carried out in facilities agreed on by US and Filipino authorities.
Pemberton was sentenced to six to 12 years in prison.