On President Duterte's granting of absolute pardon to Joseph Scott Pemberton

Karapatan strongly denounces President Rodrigo Duterte's granting of absolute pardon to convicted US marine Joseph Scott Pemberton as a despicable and shameless mockery of justice and servility to US imperialist interests.

While human rights defenders, activists, government critics and ordinary folks are being arrested and jailed for all sorts fabricated and flimsy charges, while elderly and sickly prisoners continue to be denied humanitarian release amid a deadly pandemic, Duterte has granted absolute pardon to a transphobic murderer, who has not shown an iota of remorse for his brutal crime.

By granting absolute pardon to Pemberton, Duterte is mocking the Filipino people, who, through decades, have been violated by US military intervention in the country — with the cold-blooded killing of Jennifer Laude as the latest of such reported crimes.

Duterte is placing the interests of the US government above the Filipino people's demands for justice and accountability by pardoning Pemberton: this is a hard slap on the LGBTQ+ community and a blatant affront to our national sovereignty.

Karapatan asserts the call to keep a killer like Pemberton in jail and to junk the US-RP Visiting Forces Agreement and other lopsided agreements with the US. We will not cease in demanding justice for Jennifer. 

Cristina Palabay
Karapatan Secretary General