The president gave Mr. Pemberton, the convicted murderer of Jennifer Laude, an absolute pardon and the reason the president gave was that Mr. Pemberton was treated unfairly.
If there was anything unfair it was the following facts:
(1) Mr. Pemberton was placed in a special facility instead of the normal prison facility in Bilibid; (2) The court ordered his early release despite the special treatment that Mr.Pemberton received.
The presidential pardon and the reason provided adds further insult and injury not only to the family of Jennifer Laude but also to the Filipino LGBTQI+ community.
The pardon given and the reason behind it are not only immoral but also a perversion of justice and another act of betrayal against our national sovereignty.
This pardon comes after the killings of a peace advocate and a young human rights activist who was also a church worker. This pardon comes on top of the non-liability of an erring police officer who had a party and a senator who placed at risk the lives of medical frontliners, while poor and ordinary Filipinos are heavily penalized without an ounce of mercy and contextual consideration.
As a pastor of an LGBTQI+ affirming Church, I denounce in the strongest possible terms the granting of presidential pardon to Mr. Pemberton. This is unacceptable as a Filipino, as a Christian and as a member of the LGBTQI+ community.
I proclaim and believe in redemptive justice from which grace and mercy flows, but justice nonetheless. Only through genuine justice can redemption and grace be possible.
There is nothing genuine nor just in this act of pardon.
For more information:
BBC News – Jennifer Laude case: Duterte pardons US marine over transgender killing
ABS-CBN News – Duterte pardons US soldier convicted in killing of Filipino transgender woman
Manila Bulletin – Laude family condemns pardon granted to Pemberton