Unburdened

    432

    AMERICAN Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton greeted his freedom with great delight even as it tormented deeply the family of his victim, Jennifer Laude, and inflamed the rest of the country. President Duterte signing the pardon for the convicted killer may be seen as a hugely balancing act to his very friendly ties with China and to revive thawed relations with the United States. That he badly needs American support in the event of any political destabilization or a military coup may not be speculative.

    The Presidential pardon was so shameful but not enough for Pemberton to show any signs of remorse, exhibiting the tragic character that he has become. Through his lawyer, he issued an apology to the Laude family but apology sounded lame, shallow. As Pemberton basks in his pardon he suddenly thinks highly of himself as if the pardon has erased his actual crime and guilt. When he goes his merry ways he seems to throw his sense of guilt out of the way.

    ‘The surprise pardon provides for the “absolute extinction” of Pemberton’s criminal and civil liability but hardly erases the fact the court found him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of killing a Filipino.’

    Many think the US military code would burden his conscience with guilt since Laude, who was mercilessly killed, was not an enemy. Pemberton could have tried to help ease the pain – which was too much to ask from him – by completing his prison sentence. Laude’s family had wished the Marine dead and would only come to face him after he turns into a corpse. The surprise pardon provides for the “absolute extinction” of Pemberton’s criminal and civil liability but hardly erases the fact the court found him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of killing a Filipino.

    ***

    We are sure that many generals and the officer corps of the Armed Forces have become more restive with the cell sites of the huge Chinese telco set to be built inside military camps. This very dumb decision of practically erecting listening devices at military installations does not sit well with senior officers who braved bombs and bullets to ward off insurgents.

    The President should be roused from his empty musings about what he thinks to be a docile military easily given to his caprices. The military silence today runs as deep as the threat to our national security. As an institution, the military does not break its silence, especially today when stepping out of line and courting Presidential wrath may cost them their careers or their future.

    Disgruntled soldiers at a major military hospital would speak to their families and close friends of the mismanaged military tactics that had cost the lives of their colleagues in battle. This latest blow to the pride of the men in uniform coming from Chinese direct intrusions into military facilities will trigger fresh ramblings in their ranks.