A facet of White supremacy + ongoing abuses experienced by LGBTQIA people, and how systems ignore these.
The release of US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton after only staying in a special jail made just for him for six years is getting lambasted.
Pemberton was initially sentenced to six to 12 years imprisonment by the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 74, in December 2015. He was found guilty of murdering transgender woman Jennifer Laude, who was found dead in a bathroom in a room in Celzone Lodge in Olongapo City on October 11, 2014.
Laude – who was only 26 years old at that time – was found with her head inside a toilet bowl. She was last seen alive with Pemberton.
When the RTC released its decision, it said that Pemberton admitted that he killed a “he-she.”
But on September 1, the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court ordered the release of the convicted killer, stating that he already has a total accumulated time served of 10 years, one month, and 10 days.
Signed by Olongapo RTC Presiding Judge Roline M. Ginez-Jabalde, this computation is said to include the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA), though Pemberton only served six years.
Pemberton also paid damages totaling only PhP4.6 million (approximately US$94,500).
In a tweet, UP Babaylan stated: “No amount of financial reparations will be enough to erase the grief and pain brought by his heinous crime, not just to Jennifer’s family, but to the LGBTQI community.”
Ms Naomi Fontanos of GANDA Filipinas posted that “ito’y halimbawa ng pangbababoy sa katarungan. Paki-usap na sama sama natin itong labanan. Huwag tayong papayag na paglauran nila ang sistema ng hustisya dito sa Pilipinas. Ito’y klarong epekto ng patuloy na nangingibabaw na imperyalismo dito sa sarili nating bayan na kailangan nating tutulan!“
For its part, Bahaghari Kamaynilaan stated that “despite the glaring lack of proof of Pemberton’s behavior and conduct, Olongapo court says he has served more than the 10-year maximum penalty… There is no #JusticeForJennifer in a justice system that bows down to the whims of the United States!”
Gabriela Youth – Bulacan expressed its “pinakamasidhing pagkasuklam sa naging desisyon na palayain ang US-Marine at mamamatay-tao na si… Pemberton. Anim na taon na ang nakalipas nang ginahasa at pinaslang ang kapatid nating transwoman na si Jennifer Laude.“
Activist Renato Reyes Jr. noted that Pemberton served only six years for the killing of Laude. “Six years. He has been ordered released. Six years for the brutal killing of a Filipino. Six years for a US serviceman covered by the VFA. SIX YEARS.”
For Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas, Pemberton’s early release is “an injustice to all Filipino women and LGBTQ who were made highly vulnerable to rape, prostitution, and other forms of gender-based violence under VFA and EDCA… The Olongapo court granted the early release of a transphobic murderer under GCTA who wasn’t even detained at the New Bilid Prison but at a relatively lavish detention facility in Camp Aguinaldo. Where is the justice in that? His conduct was never put to test as he was living comfortably in his specially made cell.”
Brosas stressed that “this case should be considered as a heinous crime more so because it is compounded with a hate motive. We will continue to fight for Jennifer Laude and all victims of gender-based violence and remain steadfast in calling for the pull out of US troops in Philippine territories.”
Meanwhile, AKMA UP stands “in solidarity with Jennifer Laude’s family and the trans community as we continue to fight against the unjust ruling of the court for Pemberton’s release… We grieve for this blatant disrespect and dishonor to the memory of our late trans sister.”