More heinous crime convicts yield to Duterte’s call hours before deadline

Marje Pelayo   •   September 19, 2019   •   709

MANILA, Philippines – Several heinous crime convicts who were released through Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) yielded to authorities’ hours before the deadline on Thursday (September 19).

President Rodrigo Duterte declared a 15-day ultimatum to over 1,000 heinous crime convicts freed due to the GCTA law to surrender or face warrantless arrest.

The President also announced a reward for the capture of those who would refuse his call to surrender.

The surrenders said they fear of their safety thus they decided to voluntarily return to authorities’ custody.

Earlier on Thursday, returning inmates arrived at New Bilibid Prison (NBP), each handing over their respective release order proving they were freed under the GCTA.

One of them was alias ‘Roy’ who was detained due to illegal drugs.

He was released last year after nine months in jail.

He was supposed to serve a 12 to 14-year jail term.

“Voluntary na lang, Sir para seguridad na rin (I volunteered to surrender for my own safety),” he said.

“Nanghihinayang rin kasi may trabaho na kami tapos bigla pa kaming mababalik, (It’s regretful because I already established a job outside detention but now, I need to go back in,)” he added.

Similar to ‘Roy,’ alias ‘Roger’ also fears the President’s directive and for his own peace, he decided to surrender.

“Mga ilang araw hindi ako makatulog, (I couldn’t sleep at night,)” Roger said.

“Tapos noong nakita ko nga nagsalita na naman, noong napanood ko sa TV (na) ‘Kailangan talaga kahit ano pa man ang ano mo. Pumunta na kayo. Sumuko kayo,’ napagpasyahan ko nga,” he added.

(I saw the President on TV saying: ‘You must return and surrender.’ That’s why I decided to just return.)

About 400 GCTA-freed heinous crime convicts have returned to the national penitentiary while the rest were distributed to different jail facilities under the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

On Wednesday evening (September 18), two of the convicts in the Chiong sister’s rape-slay case, Josman Aznar and James Anthony Uy, also surrendered to authorities.

Aznar and Uy were released last month. – MNP (with details from Sherwin Culubong)

Roque questions court order to release Pemberton

Robie de Guzman   •   September 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has questioned a local court’s decision to grant the appeal of US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton for an early release through good conduct time allowance (GCTA) credits.

Roque, who was the former private legal counsel of Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude’s family, said the Bureau of Corrections, which has the authority to grant GCTA credits, did not recommend any allowance for good conduct for Pemberton.

“Yung ginawa po ni Judge na siya na ang nagdesisyon kung paano siya bibigyan ng credit for good conduct is an instance of judicial overreach,” he said.

The Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 74 in an order dated September 1 said Pemberton should be released over good behavior.

Pemberton was sentenced six to 10 years in prison for homicide over the slay of Laude at a motel in Olongapo City in 2014. He has been held at a facility in Camp Aguinaldo pursuant to provisions of the Visiting Forces Agreement between the United States and the Philippines.

The court credited to him a good conduct time allowance (GCTA) of 1,548 days or more than 4 years plus a total of 2,142 days in detention which amounts to more than 10 years of the maximum penalty imposed on him.

The Palace official said that the court’s decision on Pemberton’s release is unjust.

“Very bad po, kasi parang pinapakita na di mahalaga ang buhay ng Pilipino. 5 taon lang sa ginuntuang hawla ang pwedeng maging parusa. Huwag naman po,” he said.

He also denied the claim of Pemberton’s lawyer that he and Laude’s family agreed to release the convicted American soldier on parole.

Roque added that the motion for reconsideration filed by Laude’s family should be resolved first, as well as the appeal that will be lodged by the government’s prosecutors.

The Department of Justice said it has directed the Bureau of Corrections to wait for the court’s resolution on the Laude family’s motion for reconsideration. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Pemberton to remain in detention pending appeal resolution – DOJ

Robie de Guzman   •   September 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, who was convicted of killing Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude, will not be released from detention yet pending a court’s resolution on the appeal filed by the victim’s family, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Thursday.

 The DOJ said it has directed the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) to wait for the court’s decision on the Laude family’s motion for reconsideration.

“The MR would have to be resolved first. The BuCor cannot preempt court action on the MR by prematurely releasing Pemberton,” DOJ Spokesperson Markk Perete said in a message.

The BuCor, for its part, said it will heed the DOJ’s directive and respect the court process. It also assured that Pemberton will remain detained at a facility in Camp Aguinaldo.

The Laude family, through their counsel Virgie Suarez filed a motion for reconsideration on Wednesday, arguing that Pemberton should not be granted an early release sans proof of his good behavior or participation in rehabilitation programs in jail.

“Simple ang mga ibigay lang nila sa korte ay mga computation I mean what can you see from the computation? Computation is just a computation it should not be taken ay yun na yun that computation is equated with the good conducts dapat may mga records,” she said.

Suarez also stressed in her appeal that Pemberton has been serving sentence “solo” in Camp Aguinaldo and no one can attest about his alleged good conduct.

  “What constitutes good conduct? Ano ba ang mga ginawa nito para sabihin mo mayroong good conduct? The court could easily scrutinize that but the court did not,” she said.

The Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 74 in an order dated September 1 said Pemberton should be released over good behavior.

In 2014, Pemberton was sentenced six to 10 years in prison for homicide over the slay of Laude at a motel in Olongapo City. He has been held at a facility in Camp Aguinaldo under the provisions of the Visiting Forces Agreement between the United States and the Philippines.

The court credited to him a good conduct time allowance (GCTA) of 1,548 days or more than 4 years plus a total of 2,142 days in detention which amounts to more than 10 years of the maximum penalty imposed on him.

The court is set to hear the Laude family’s appeal on Monday, Sept. 7. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

Pemberton bids for early freedom through GCTA

Robie de Guzman   •   August 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton has filed a motion before the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 74 indicating his bid for early freedom by availing of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA).

According to Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete, the court has started hearing Pemberton’s motion and that it has asked the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) to submit a computation of his service of sentence.

Pemberton was sentenced to six to ten years of imprisonment in December 2015 for killing Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude in 2014.

Perete said it will be the court that will determine if he is entitled to release.

“The start of Pemberton’s detention for the purpose of determining his service of sentence is among the issues that will have to be resolved by the court,” Perete said.

Pemberton is currently detained at a facility in Camp Aguinaldo pursuant to the Visiting Forces Agreement. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

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