PRESIDENT Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte’s grant of a full pardon to United States Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton, a homicide convict, should not be questioned because the power to pardon rests solely with the president of the Republic.
Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde tried to arrogate unto herself the presidential power of granting a pardon to and commuting the sentence of Pemberton but was roundly criticized.
Pemberton had served time for the killing of transgender Jennifer Laude in Olongapo City in 2014.
He had served six years of a 10-year jail sentence, enough punishment for the US Marine who killed Laude in a fit of rage after finding out that the transgender had misrepresented himself.
Pemberton’s killing of Laude was not premeditated. The two met in boy-meets-girl fashion in a bar where US sailors and Marines were having a good time.
After getting soused with beer, Pemberton had invited Laude to have sex with him — for a fee, of course — thinking that he was dealing with a woman.
Pemberton’s family has indemnified Laude’s family to the tune of P4.5 million which, if you ask me, the transgender couldn’t have earned in his lifetime.
As they say in Tagalog, “Mabuti pa kesa wala” (Better than nothing).
I can’t understand why Laude’s family is still complaining about Pemberton’s release when they accepted the “blood money.”
Pemberton’s family probably borrowed money from friends, relatives and the bank to come up with that amount which is roughly equivalent to $90,000. To a typical American working-class family, that amount is a fortune.
Ah, probably Laude’s family was swayed by sulsol (unsolicited advice) from kibitzers.
Please don’t get mad at me for my remark; I’m just being practical, logical and a devil’s advocate.
I would be the first one to fight for the right of the oppressed — I have a radio-TV show that does so — especially if the victim happens to be my compatriot.
But fair is fair.
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Pemberton never worked directly for the interest of the Filipino people; he just happened to be here to take part in the annual war games of Philippine and US troops.
If Pemberton, a foreigner, was granted a pardon by President Digong, then all the more reason why Mr. Duterte should pardon two persons who were convicted for crimes connected to their government jobs.
I’m referring to former Manila Police Capt. Rey Jaylo and retired Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan.
Jaylo was convicted by the Sandiganbayan for the killing of two high-ranking military officers in Magallanes, Makati in July 1990.
The two officers — Col. Rolando de Guzman, deputy commander of the North Luzon Command, and Capt. Avelino Manguera, Nolcom’s intelligence chief — were caught red-handed with 10 kilograms of heroin worth P230 million at the time.
(As an aside, Colonel de Guzman was the suspected mastermind in the murder of Zamboanga City Mayor Cesar Climaco but was never jailed. If you ask me, his murder was karma; what one does eventually boomerangs on him.)
Jaylo and his men executed the two Army officers — let’s call a spade a spade — allegedly upon direct orders from his boss, then Director Alfredo Lim of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) who was monitoring the buy-bust.
Up until then, it was the biggest drug haul by any law enforcement agency.
Lim should have taken responsibility for the twin murders since the order to “salvage” the two Army officers came from him.
For one reason or another, Lim failed to keep his word that he would work for Jaylo and his men’s pardon.
Jaylo is in hiding along with his men.
I’ve known Jaylo from the time when I covered the Manila Police beat back in the late 1970s until 1987.
Jaylo was the quiet type and went about his job with alacrity. I never heard him complain when he was a member of the mobile patrol division as a patrolman, and as a member of the homicide section.
Because of his reputation (deserved or otherwise) for dispatching nefarious criminals to kingdom come, Lim, then the Western (Manila) Police District superintendent, took a liking to him.
Lim apparently recalled those days when cop-killers were executed extrajudicially — salvage in Filipino police lingo — to serve as a stern warning to the underworld.
“Pare, pinabayaan na kami ni Chiquito (My friend, Chiquito has abandoned us),” Jaylo told me in a phone conversation from his unknown hideout.
Chiquito was the late Fred Lim’s moniker among his subordinates.
Digong may want to pardon Jaylo since what he did was just to follow orders from his superior (Lim) to do away with the two military officers.
The President has been saying he would pardon law enforcers if they were convicted by the courts for killing drug pushers and traffickers.
I now call on him to keep true to his word in the case of Jaylo.
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Jovito Palparan was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the kidnapping, serious illegal detention and killing of two University of the Philippines coeds in 2006.
There was no direct evidence that Palparan had ordered the killing, just hearsay testimony from a farmer who claimed to have been detained along with the two coeds.
The two UP students — Karen Empeño and Sherly Cadapan — were allegedly abducted by soldiers under Palparan who was at the time commander of an Army division in Central Luzon.
Empeño and Cadapan were suspected to have been members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA)
In convicting Palparan, the judge was apparently swayed by the clamor for the general’s head from leftist groups and the Noynoy Aquino administration,
Palparan was a nemesis of the NPA wherever he was assigned — in Samar, Mindoro and Central Luzon.
The NPAs, who have support from leftist and congressional party-list groups, worked hard for Palparan’s conviction.
Palparan was so beloved by his fellow soldiers and peace-loving citizens that no less than President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo called him a hero.
When GMA was gone, Palparan became a “butcher” to leftist groups and the Noynoy Aquino administration.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd so hated GMA that he vented his ire on her once-favorite general.
Like Lim to Jaylo, GMA has abandoned her “hero” general.
I’m surprised why GMA, who’s very close to Digong, has not asked the latter to pardon Palparan.
But on second thought, I am not surprised at all since GMA has a reputation for leaving in midair subordinates who followed her orders when they get into trouble.
Like what I’m doing with Jaylo, I’m proposing to Digong that he pardon Palparan.
If the President pardons Palparan, he will become a hero to the entire officers corps of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.