Salinlahi: Absolute pardon to Pemberton illustrates country’s rotten criminal justice system, Duterte’s subservience to US

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Salinlahi: Absolute pardon to Pemberton illustrates country’s rotten criminal justice system, Duterte’s subservience to US

Quezon City – Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns vehemently condemns President Rodrigo Duterte over his move to grant an absolute pardon to US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton who has been convicted for murdering Jennifer Laude in 2014.

The decision to release Pemberton clearly illustrates the rotten criminal justice system in the country under the Duterte administration where high-profile criminals are being afforded special treatment and privileges while hundreds of thousands of innocent Filipino people have succumbed to death from the hands of state forces or detained over unfounded accusations.

Duterte has once again proven that his supposed “independent foreign policy” is just an empty rhetoric. He failed to serve the interests of the Filipino people by presenting himself as a subservient to the whims of foreign powers such as the US.

By allowing the release of Pemberton, Duterte deprived the Laude family of the justice they have fought for. It is even outrageous that no less than President Duterte himself has the audacity to claim that Pemberton was not treated fairly over the government’s failure to accurately compute his good conduct time allowance (GCTA).

Duterte is also hypocrite for asking the public to accept his decision to release Pemberton when in fact his government refuses to acknowledge the moral grounds to release political prisoners for humanitarian reasons.

Instead of addressing the more pressing issues brought by the corona virus pandemic and its socio-economic implications, the Duterte government has been abusing the situation to railroad anti-people programs and policies.

In the recent months, we have witnessed the increasing number of state-sanctioned violations after a number of human rights activists and peace advocates have been brutally murdered by suspected state agents such as Randy Echanis and Zara Alvarez. Leaders and members of progressive organizations were also arrested and detained over trumped up charges. And despite the local and international condemnations, President Duterte also signed into law the draconian Anti-Terror Act.

Salinlahi strongly opposes the move to release Pemberton and calls on all concerned groups and institutions to act immediately in order to keep him in jail. Salinlahi also urges the public to call for the junking of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and all the unequal treaties between the US and the Philippines. ###


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