Bucor defers release of US serviceman

Bucor defers release of US serviceman

MANILA – The Bureau of Corrections (Bucor) has put on hold the release of American serviceman Joseph Scott Pemberton following a motion for reconsideration filed before the court questioning an order granting his liberty.

In a statement, Bucor said it “respects the court processes and will wait for the resolution of the filed motion for reconsideration”.

While the normal release process is on hold, it said Pemberton remains under the custody of Bucor at its extension facility in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

The Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 74 has earlier ordered the early release of Pemberton, saying he had served the minimum of his sentence for the death of transgender Filipino Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude six years ago.

In an order dated Sept. 1, Olongapo RTC Presiding Judge Roline M. Ginez-Jabalde directed the Bucor to release Pemberton from detention “unless he is being held for some other lawful cause or causes”.

The court said Pemberton served 2,142 days including the 405 days served during his preventive imprisonment. He was also credited with good conduct and time allowance (GCTA) of 1,548 days for a total of 3,690 days served.

“Accused Pemberton has a total accumulated time served with entitled of GCTA of 10 years, one month and 10 days which is more than the 10-year maximum penalty imposed by this court and affirmed by the Court of Appeals (CA),” the court said.

Pemberton is now entitled to be released for he had already served the 10-year maximum of his penalty, the court added.

The Olongapo RTC also noted an acknowledgment receipt in full of judgment award signed by Marilou Laude Mahait as representative of the heirs of Jennifer Laude stating she received, through lawyer Rowena Garcia, PHP4.65 million in a check from the Pembertons on Aug. 25, 2020.

“Though the payment of civil liability by the accused to the heirs of Jeffrey Laude is separate from his criminal liability, it is worth to note that he had already made a full payment of the damages awarded by this court in the decision dated November 18, 2015 as amended by the Court of Appeals in its April 3, 2017 decision,” the court said.

The amount is broken down as follows: PHP4.32 million for loss of earning capacity, PHP155,000 in actual damages, PHP75,000 award in civil indemnity, PHP75,000 representing moral damages, and PHP30,000 representing the award of exemplary damages.

In a motion for reconsideration filed on Wednesday, the victim’s heirs asked the court not to allow Pemberton’s early release and insisted that the serviceman “failed to show proof of good conduct”. (PNA)

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