Laudes reject Pemberton apology, say it’s ‘insincere, too scripted’


    THE family of slain transgender Jennifer Laude yesterday rejected the apology issued by US Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton hours before he was deported last Sunday, saying it was “insincere” and “too scripted.”

    The apology, contained in a two-paragraph statement, was released by Pemberton’s lawyer, Rowena Garcia Flores, and also expressed gratitude to President Duterte for the absolute pardon granted Monday last week.

    In a text message sent to the counsel of the Laude family, Virgie Suarez, Laude’s mother, Julita, said: “Di ko matanggap, parang hindi sinsero. Atty., di ba sya marunong magsulat ng sarili niyang paghingi ng tawad (I can’t accept it, not sincere. Atty., can’t he write his own apology?)”

    Laude’s sister, Marilou, in another text message, said: “Scripted po masyado.Sana nilagay po sa baba ng statement na, sincerely yours, Rowena (It’s too scripted. It should have included a statement saying sincerely yours, Rowena),” insinuating the apology was written by Flores.

    Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, meanwhile, said Pemberton is expected to face court martial in the United States, which will determine if he will be dismissed or retained in the military service.

    Roque, former lawyer of the family of transgender Jennifer Laude who was killed by Pemberton in 2014, bared this was the promise of a representatives from the US Marine Corps during negotiations for a possible settlement about the American soldier. He did not say when this happened.

    “Ang pangako po nila, kung makakalabas si Pemberton, ibig sabihin matatapos lang ang proseso sa Pilipinas. Pero pag-uwi raw po ni Pemberton, tuloy pa rin iyong kaniyang court martial proceedings at doon po malalaman kung mayroon pang additional na parusang ipapataw sa kanya at iyong kanyang qualification to remain in service (They promised, once Pemberton gets out, once the process in the Philippines is completed, once Pemberton returns home, the court martial proceedings against him will proceed and that will determine if he would be meted additional punishment and his qualification to remain in service),” Roque said.

    He said he was revealing this part of the discussions because he believes this is not covered by any client privilege agreement and he is sharing the details as part of his “advocacy to promote information on matters affecting public interest.”

    The pardon enabled Pemberton to walk after serving just six years of the 10-year sentence imposed by Branch 74 of the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court and upheld by the Court of Apeals.

    The pardon was issued just as the Olongapo City RTC started hearing the motion for reconsideration filed by the Laudes on the order allowing Pemberton’s release due to the good conduct time allowance.

    Suarez said she was not privy to the reported promise of Duterte to keep Pemberton in jail while he is president.

    Last Saturday, Laude’s mother claimed that Duterte vowed not to free the US serviceman during his presidency. She also said their family had received assistance from Duterte.

    Roque said Duterte did not make that promise to the Laudes but confirmed the President extended financial assistance to the family thrice.

    “I am not privy to that. Si Nanay Julita ang nagsabi na ‘yun na pangako ni Duterte,” Suarez said.

    Roque reiterated that the Laudes had received justice because Pemberton spent almost six years in prison and paid more than P4 million in damages to the family.

    He added the pardon did not erase the record of Pemberton as a convicted killer. – With Jocelyn Montemayor