Tag Archives: LGBTQI

[Statement] 𝑨𝒏𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 π‘»π’“π’‚π’—π’†π’”π’•π’š 𝒐𝒇 π‘·π’‰π’Šπ’π’Šπ’‘π’‘π’Šπ’π’† π‘Ίπ’π’—π’†π’“π’†π’Šπ’ˆπ’π’•π’š 𝒂𝒏𝒅 π‘±π’–π’“π’Šπ’”π’…π’Šπ’„π’•π’Šπ’π’ -KILUSAN

𝑨𝒏𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 π‘»π’“π’‚π’—π’†π’”π’•π’š 𝒐𝒇 π‘·π’‰π’Šπ’π’Šπ’‘π’‘π’Šπ’π’† π‘Ίπ’π’—π’†π’“π’†π’Šπ’ˆπ’π’•π’š 𝒂𝒏𝒅 π‘±π’–π’“π’Šπ’”π’…π’Šπ’„π’•π’Šπ’π’

Regional Trial Court Branch 74 of Olongapo City granted Joseph Pemberton’s petition to be released because he has served his ten-year sentence in just 5 years and 8 months, including 1 year and 5 weeks of his preventive detention. The court, without factual and reasonable basis and without recommendation by proper authority, awarded Pemberton the privilege of good conduct time allowance (GCTA).

We, belonging to Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KILUSAN), strongly denounce the de facto commutation of Pemberton’s sentence. This is another grave injustice to the Filipino people and another travesty of Philippine sovereignty and jurisdiction.

Pemberton is not an ordinary American citizen who killed Jennifer Laude on October 11, 2014. He was a lance corporal of the US Marine Corps and thus represents the US military and state. His status and the circumstance of his presence in the Philippines then were covered and justified under the US-RP Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

He was preventively detained first inside US Navy ship USS Peleliu and later, after being charged with murder on December 15, 2014, was transferred to a US facility inside Camp Aguinaldo, the headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. He was convicted for homicide, not murder, on December 1, 2015. Though a national prisoner under the supervision of the Bureau of Corrections, he remained confined in the comforts of the same US facility. His close-in guards are US soldiers, his perimeter guards are Filipino soldiers.

With privileged condition of his confinement, Pemberton should not be granted the privilege of GCTA which is reserved for convicts serving time in real jails.

The same RTC Branch that convicted him for homicide, instead of murder, has committed another injustice to the Filipino people, especially to prisoners who are really qualified for GCTA.

Furthermore, with Duterte’s suspension of the termination process of the VFA, the privileged release of Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton is another hallmark of Philippines’ subservience to the US.

No to Pemberton’s release. He must serve his time inside the national penitentiary!
Terminate the US-RP Visiting Forces Agreement!

Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KILUSAN)
September 2, 2020
#JusticeForJenniferLaude
#ScrapVFA

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[Press Release] Women Condemn Olongapo Court Order to Release Pemberton -WMW-Pilipinas

Women Condemn Olongapo Court Order to Release Pemberton

The World March of Women – Pilipinas, Ganda Filipinas and the lawyer of Jennifer Laude’s family underscored the irony of the court order to release US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton when the country is about to commemorate the removal of the US bases.

β€œThe 16th of September 1991 was a proud moment in our history as a sovereign nation,” according to WMW – Pilipinas. Even after the urging of then President Corazon Aquino to renew the RP-US Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Peace, twelve (12) senators rejected the proposed agreement which would have given another 10 years to American control over Subic Naval Base. This year’s commemoration of that historic event will now be marred by the recent hasty decision of the Olongapo regional trial court to release Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton owing to his alleged β€˜good conduct’ without having fully served his sentence.

This puts into question our government’s ability to defend its own citizens vis-Γ -vis foreign power in our own territory, according to the feminist grassroots movement, WMW-Pilipinas.

On December 1, 2015, Pemberton was sentenced from six (6) to twelve (12) years in prison for homicide after killing transwoman Jennifer Laude on October 11, 2014, with Laude’s non-disclosure of her gender identity supposedly a mitigating factor. He has been serving this sentence in a private facility within Camp Aguinaldo and not in National Bilibid Prison where individuals who committed such crime should be. This facility is supposedly under the jurisdiction of the US government through the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) passed by the Philippine Senate in 1999 and operationalized in 2014 when President Benigno Aquino III signed the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

β€œThat the Motion for Release based on alleged good conduct was filed only in July 2020, the hearing on the motion happening on August 26th, and the order for release given on September 1st while Laude’s lawyer, Virginia Lacsa Suarez, was only about to file her opposition, clearly shows how fast our own court and agencies, namely the Bureau of Correction which endorsed the motion, can act in the service of a foreign power and not in the interest of the Filipino people,” said Ana Maria Nemenzo, National Coordinator of WomanHealth Philippines.

For Laude’s family and lawyer, what happened is clearly an injustice. β€œThe Order of Release has no material basis at all. By his own motion, and invoking the VFA, he was already given the privilege of serving his sentence solo and comfortably in a specially-made facility in Camp Aguinaldo. Thus, his conduct was never put to test as he has never joined other convicts. Good conduct is not a matter of right. It is a privilege subject to the presentation of proof and recommendation of actual good conduct. Otherwise, this is subject to abuse and can be circumvented easily,” said lawyer Suarez.

Jean Enriquez, Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women-Asia Pacific (CATW-AP) said that β€œThis court order will dissuade victim-survivors of violence among us from pursuing justice, since privileged perpetrators will be protected in Camp Aguinaldo and their sentence commuted.” For the victim-survivors of violence and the LGBTQIA+ community, that perpetrators like Pemberton could evade our own laws further instills uncertainty and doubt if they can achieve justice.

“This is a tragic reminder of how little trans lives truly matter not only in the US but as well as in its former colonies,” said Naomi Fontanos, Executive Director of Gender and Development Advocates (GANDA) Filipinas. β€œIt is ironic that Pemberton’s early release is happening at a time when the US is going through a reckoning with its racist history,” Fontanos lamented. β€œPemberton’s early release is proof of the power of white supremacy institutionalized through America’s imperialistic military that has destroyed the many lives of people of color including the lives of trans women of color like Jennifer Laude,” she further said. β€œPemberton & the violent military institution he represents should be reminded that without justice, there will be no peace,” added Fontanos.

β€œPemberton’s early release is an injustice to Jennifer Laude, to the women, LGBTQIA+, and allies, who fought tooth and nail for his conviction,” echoed Judy Afan Pasimio of LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights). β€œThis is evidence that the government’s exclamations against the US and the VFA are hollow and will protect no Filipino women against abuse and crime from foreign visitors,” Pasimio said.

β€œSuch infringement on our sovereignty can only be prevented if we reject treaties such as the Visiting Forces Agreement that continually allows powers like the United States to have their way in our own land,” declared WMW-Pilipinas.

According to the women and trans groups, such travesty of justice against the LGBTQIA+ community and victim-survivors of sexual assault, rape, and other forms of violence can only be stopped if our courts and the government uphold the law to genuinely protect them from perpetrators and criminal.

Other members of WMW-Pilipinas include Bagong Kamalayan Prostitution Survivors’ Collective, Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA), Foundation for Media Alternative (FMA), KAISA KA, Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK), Partido Manggagawa – Women, SARILAYA, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) – Women, Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau (WLB).

The groups will hold an online rally tomorrow, September 4, 2020 at 3-4PM to protest the fast-tracked release order in favor of the convicted killer of transwoman Jennifer Laude.

It will be aired on the facebook pages of World March of Women – Pilipinas, GANDA Filipinas, Justice for Jennifer Laude, CATW-AP, LILAK, Youth and Students Advancing Gender Equality (YSAGE) and others.

Contact Persons:
Naomi Fontanos, 09266700411
Jean Enriquez, 09778105326

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