U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton, who was convicted of murdering Filipina transgender woman Jennifer Laude, will no longer undergo court-martial proceedings, a U.S. Marine Corps spokesperson said Wednesday, September 16.
Pemberton will not be tried a second time since he already served the court-imposed penalty for his actions prior to his pardon, Major Melanie Salinas of the US Marine Corps’ Communication Directorate told online news service BenarNews.
“Consistent with the due process traditions shared by the United States and the Philippines and the running of the Statute of Limitations, the Marine Corps will not try Lance Cpl. Pemberton a second time for the same crime. He will be processed for administrative discharge,” she said in an email to BenarNews.
Salinas added that Pemberton was currently on full duty with the Marine Corps, “but is administratively out-processing from the Marine Corps.”
In response, Malacañang said the decision is now in the hands of the U.S. government.
“That’s a decision of the U.S. government although I take note that they have said he will be processed for administrative discharge, meaning he will be fired as a Marine,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
Roque on Monday, September 14 said Pemberton will continue to face court-martial proceedings in the U.S. as promised by U.S. authorities.
“There was a promise made by American authorities along with a representative from the Marine corps,” he said in Filipino.
“They promised that even if Pemberton is released and the process in the Philippines ended, he will still face court-martial proceedings where it will be determined if additional punishment will be imposed and if he is still qualified to remain in service,” he added.
Pemberton was convicted of homicide on December 1, 2015 for the murder of Laude. He was sentenced to six to 10 years imprisonment.
He was released from the detention after being granted an absolute pardon by President Rodrigo Duterte, who said that it was unfair to keep Pemberton detained.
Before Duterte’s pardon, the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court ordered his release, saying that the convicted American serviceman has completed the minimum of his sentence after serving a total of 2,142 days or over five years and eight months in prison as well as accumulating a good conduct time allowance (GCTA) of 1,548 days or more than four years.
The pardon voided the issue of whether or not Pemberton is entitled to GCTA.
Pemberton was deported from the Philippines on Sunday, September 13 on board an American military aircraft bound for the U.S., at exactly 9:14 a.m.