DOJ bucks Pemberton release

The Justice department will seek a reconsideration of the decision of an Olongapo court ordering the early release of US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton after having served 10 years in prison for good-conduct time allowance or GCTA, its top official said Sunday.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said prosecutors in Olongapo were now drafting a motion seeking to overturn the order of Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde of the Olongapo City RTC Branch 74 last week.

“Our trial prosecutors are still drafting their motion for reconsideration,” Guevarra told reporters in a text message.

“I expect that jurisdictional issues, apart from the divergence in GCTA computation, will be included in the motion for reconsideration,” Guevarra said.

He said in case their motion was denied by the trial court, they would leave it up to the Solicitor General to take the next legal steps to prevent Pemberton’s release.

Pemberton was convicted of homicide on Dec. 1, 2015, for killing transgender Jennifer Laude inside a lodge in 2014.

He was sentenced to six to 10 years in prison and has been detained at the Joint US Military Assistance Group facility in Camp Aguinaldo.

Guevarra earlier expressed hope the Solicitor General would join them in seeking a reconsideration of the Olongapo City court’s decision.

The court ordered Pemberton’s release after computing his total accumulated time served with his GCTA.

Based on the computation, Pemberton had served a total of 405 days during his preventive imprisonment and 1,737 days serving his 10-year prison term.

The court said the US marine was entitled to a 260-day GCTA during preventive imprisonment and 1,288 GCTAs during the service of his sentence.

Pemberton’s actual time served in jail was 2,142 days and 1,548 days for the GCTA.

The court said Pemberton’s total accumulated time served in prison with entitlement of the GCTA was 10 years, one month and 10 days, which was already beyond his 10-year maximum sentence.

The court also said Pemberton had already paid the amount awarded by the court to Laude’s family in its decision dated Nov. 18, 2015, as amended by the appellate court in its April 3, 2017, decision. He paid a total of P4.32 million.

Laude’s family has also filed a motion for reconsideration over the court’s decision and has a scheduled hearing today, Monday.

The family insisted that Pemberton had failed to show proof of good conduct while in jail to warrant his early release, and that they wanted him transferred to the New Bilibid Prison.

Topics: Joseph Scott Pemberton , Department of Justice , Jennifer Laude , New Bilibid Prison , Menardo Guevarra
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