Pemberton to remain in detention pending appeal resolution – DOJ

Robie de Guzman   •   September 3, 2020   •   770

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)

PNP welcomes DOJ move to release parts of review on anti-drug campaign

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) welcomed the decision of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to make public the summaries of the 52 cases it reviewed in connection with deaths related to the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

In a statement, PNP chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar said the DOJ’s move is “consistent with the PNP stand for transparency and accountability in the police organization.”

“We welcome the decision of Department of Justice to release these documents to the public,” he said.

“Simula pa lang ay lubos na ang ating kooperasyon sa DOJ sa pamumuno ni Secretary Menardo Guevarra sa pamamagitan ng ating SILG Eduardo Año, at ipinaubaya na natin sa kanila ang desisyon tungkol sa mga kasong ito in the interest of truth, transparency and justice,” he added.

According to the DOJ, the summaries that will be released will include docket numbers, names of deceased suspects, places and dates of the incidents, and the review panel’s summary of observations on the cases.

The National Bureau of Investigation is set to conduct case buildup for the possible filing of criminal charges against erring police officers.

Eleazar urged the victims’ families to cooperate in holding policemen who committed abuses accountable for their action.

“Ito rin ang pagkakataon para sa mga pamilya ng nasawi sa police anti-illegal drugs operations para sila’y makapagsumite ng complaint-affidavit o kaya’y magharap ng testigo upang maisampa ang kaukulang kasong kriminal sa korte,” he said.

“Tinitiyak ko ang buong pakikipagtulungan ng PNP sa NBI. Walang mangyayaring takipan at ating pananagutin ang may dapat panagutan,” he added.

He also reminded PNP personnel to strictly follow the Police Operational Procedures to avoid problems in performing their mandate.

“Let this serve as a lesson to all our personnel that as police officers, we are law enforcers who are duty-bound to uphold the law. Tagapagpatupad tayo ng batas, hindi tayo ang batas,” Eleazar said.

“Always remember that the true courage of a police officer is measured by how he keeps his integrity and moral values intact amid the temptation and the pressure to commit abuses and disregard the rule of law,” he added.

Eleazar also stressed the sacrifices of policemen on the ground and the accomplishments of the campaign against illegal drugs.

These include the confiscation of multi-billion peso worth of illegal drugs, the neutralization of key players in the illegal drugs trade in the country and the dismantling of shabu laboratories in the country.

 

DOJ to issue immigration lookout bulletin order against Michael Yang

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 14, 2021

Michael Yang

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice will issue an immigration lookout bulletin order (ILBO) against former presidential adviser Michael Yang on Tuesday, Secretary Menardo Guevarra announced.

This is in response to the request of Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Senator Richard Gordon to place Yang under an immigration watchlist.

Gordon on Monday (September 13) wrote to DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra to seek issuance of an immigration lookout bulletin order (ILBO) against Yang.

A similar request was previously submitted to the DOJ for former Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao and seven others, to which an immigration lookout order had been released.

Yang and Lao are both under probe due to alleged deficiencies in the use of the P67-billion budget for pandemic response under the Department of Health (DOH) which was reflected in the 2020 Commission on Audit (COA) report.

The Blue Ribbon has been investigating the government’s handling of COVID-19 response funds, including the procurement of supposedly “overpriced” face masks and shields. AAC

 

Deployment of resident ombudsmen to graft-prone agencies to start this month — DOJ

Robie de Guzman   •   September 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The deployment of prosecutors and state auditors who will serve as resident ombudsmen to government agencies prone to corruption is expected to begin this month, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Thursday.

This is after the DOJ, together with the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Office of the Ombudsman, signed a memorandum of agreement that would deputize DOJ prosecutors and COA auditors as resident ombudsmen.

Their tasks include the following:

  • Bring to host government agencies the Ombudsman’s frontline services by acting on complaints and reports against officials and employees of the said agencies
  • Serve as watchdogs and implementors or corruption prevention program
  • Monitor compliance with existing anti-graft laws and regulations

“The MOA synergizes the investigatory powers of the Office of the Ombudsman, DOJ, and COA in the implementation of anti-corruption measures, this aiding the OMB and the COA in carrying out their respective mandates while also serving as a mechanism for the DOJ to attain the objectives of the Task Force Against Corruption,” the DOJ said in a statement.

“The OMB, COA, and DOH shall jointly enter into agreements with partner agencies regarding the terms of deployment of the resident Ombudsmen, which is expected to start rolling this month,” it added.

This development comes after COA included in its report alleged “deficiencies” in the Department of Health’s use of COVID-19 funds.

The issue has prompted Congressional hearings on the utilization of DOH’s funds for COVID-19 response.

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