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PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

U.S. MARINE FOUND GUILTY OF HOMECIDE; GETS 6-12 YEARS IN BILIBID PRISON; WILL APPEAL


DECEMBER 2 -Left photo shows members of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups holding a rally near the US embassy prior to the verdict. Right photo shows Jeffrey ‘Jennifer’ Laude. KRIZ JOHN ROSALES/EDD GUMBAN
OLONGAPO CITY, DECEMBER 7, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Bebot Sison and Ric Sapnu -Updated December 2, 2015 - A US Marine charged with murder for the death of a Filipino transgender was found guilty yesterday of the lesser offense of homicide and sentenced to six to 12 years in prison.
Olongapo Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 74 Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde also ordered Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton to pay the family of Laude a total of P4.6 million (about $100,000): P4.325 million for lost earnings, P155,250 for the burial expenses, P50,000 in moral damages, P50,000 as civil indemnity and P30,000 in exemplary damages. Jabalde said the Laude family’s demand for P100 million in damages was “excessive and outrageous.” The court threw out Pemberton’s defense that he merely rendered Laude unconscious in a choke hold and that someone else had strangled and drowned Laude in a toilet bowl apparently in a robbery after the US serviceman had left the scene. Jabalde originally ordered Pemberton’s immediate transfer to the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) in Muntinlupa pending clarification of a custody arrangement between the Philippine and US governments, but later in the day allowed his continued stay at Camp Aguinaldo. While on trial, Pemberton was detained in an air-conditioned cargo container at the military camp in Quezon City, guarded by US Marines. As a national prisoner, Pemberton should serve his sentence at the NBP, Jabalde said. Pemberton, an anti-tank missile operator, was convicted of the lesser charge of homicide as the court found no treachery, abuse of strength or cruelty on the part of the soldier, who was intoxicated at the time of the killing. The 20-year-old Pemberton was on shore leave when he met Laude on Oct. 11 last year at the Ambyanz bar on Magsaysay Avenue in Olongapo City. After several drinks, the two left the bar and checked into Celzone Lodge where the 26-year-old Laude was later found dead – with his head in the toilet – after Pemberton had left. Cause of death was determined to be drowning. READ MORE...

ALSO: No Bilibid time for Pemberton; He's to remain in Camp Aguinaldo - DOJ


DECEMBER 3 -MOMENT OF TRUTH US Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton, the lone suspect in the killing of transgender woman Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, is escorted inside a court in Olongapo City, Zambales province, for the promulgation of the verdict on his case. Pemberton was found guilty of homicide and was sentenced to a jail term of six to 12 years. AP FILE PHOTO
OLONGAPO CITY, Philippines—A memorandum of agreement (MOA) has been drawn up by the Philippine and US governments that will allow convicted US Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton to serve his sentence at Camp Aguinaldo under the supervision of the Bureau of Corrections, lawyers said. “We are just waiting for the official transmittal of the agreement [to Olongapo Regional Trial Court Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde],” Rowena Garcia-Flores, Pemberton’s lead counsel, told reporters on Tuesday night. A two-hour standoff ensued after US security escorts refused to turn over Pemberton to the Philippine National Police after the court rendered the decision on Tuesday. It ended when Jabalde acted on a motion filed by Pemberton’s lawyers that allowed their client to be returned to the Armed Forces of the Philippines custodial center in Camp Aguinaldo, where he had been detained for more than a year. Jabalde earlier on Tuesday convicted Pemberton of homicide for the 2014 death of transgender woman Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude and sentenced him to six to 12 years in prison. Details of the arrangement were outlined to Jabalde by an official of the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), who intervened after Jabalde directed the police to commit Pemberton at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City pending an agreement between the Philippine and US governments on where he would be eventually detained. “It was not clear to the judge as to where Pemberton should be detained but when officials of the US Embassy and the VFA Commission explained it to her, she realized Pemberton should be detained in an area inside Camp Aguinaldo,” Flores told reporters. New order The new order gave the VFA Commission five days to produce an MOA that would establish where Pemberton would be detained. Harry Roque Jr., counsel for the Laude family, confirmed that Eduardo Oban, VFA Commission executive director, had informed Jabalde that Pemberton must serve his sentence in a mutually agreed detention facility. READ MORE...

ALSO Bilibid or not: Custody battle for Pemberton looms after verdict


DECEMBER 3 -PEMBERTON
US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton has been convicted, but the Philippine and the United States governments are set for a potentially messy legal and diplomatic custody battle over the American serviceman.
The Olongapo Regional Trial Court the other day handed down the verdict to have Pemberton held at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) from Camp Aguinaldo, however US officials who were with Pemberton refused to hand him over to the Philippine National Police (PNP) for detention, vehemently defying the order of the court.A standoff between officials ensued which ended in a modification of the court’s earlier ruling. Pemberton is back at Camp Aguinaldo and will stay there for five days until Manila and Washington finalize a detention facility under Philippine control, in full compliance with the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).There were calls for the Aquino administration to transfer Pemberton to a regular jail instead of detaining him in a facility inside Camp Aguinaldo.Sources said a detention facility inside the AFP Custodial Center at Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) compound in Camp Aguinaldo – which will become an extension facility of the Bureau of Corrections (Bucor) is now being prepared to accommodate Pemberton. They added the facility being prepared for Pemberton was used in the detention of the military rebels, including the Magdalo leaders who launched the July 2003 Oakwood mutiny.It was gathered that the detention facility – now undergoing repairs, was the one agreed upon by the Philippine and US governments.The Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 74 convicted Pemberton of killing Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude and sentenced him to six to 12 years imprisonment for homicide. From the court room, Pemberton was transported back to Camp Aguinaldo Tuesday night where he was detained to his original detention at the compound of the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB). READ MORE...

ALSO: No special treatment for Pemberton – Noy


DECEMBER 6 -US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton
ROME – There is no special treatment for US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, who was convicted of homicide for the death of Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude in Olongapo last year, President Aquino said on Friday.
He told reporters Pemberton is now detained in a Philippine-controlled facility in Camp Aguinaldo which can be considered an extension of the Bureau of Corrections. The President went to Rome for an official visit after attending a climate summit in France. “The facility in the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) is going to be manned by Bureau of Corrections personnel or is already being manned by Bureau of Corrections personnel. In effect, this is an extension of the Bilibid and consistent with the agreements under the VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement),” the President said. “The bottom line is, as a sovereign state, we have an agreement with another sovereign state. It has been there. The court has ruled. Pemberton faced the court. He was sentenced by our court, our personnel will secure him so he can serve his sentence,” he added. Aquino also lashed out at critics who were claiming that Pemberton was being treated as a special prisoner in the country. “By the very nature of our agreement, we have an agreed upon detention facility. But they (critics) will say that since the detention facility is different, it is already special,” he said. Earlier, Pemberton, who was charged with murder, was found guilty of the lesser offense of homicide and was sentenced to six to 12 years in prison by a local court. Olongapo Regional Trial Court Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde also ordered the US Marine to pay the family of Laude a total of P4.6 million for lost earnings, burial expenses, moral damages, civil indemnity and exemplary damages. The court initially ordered the transfer of Pemberton to the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa pending a custody arrangement between the Philippines and the United States. Jabalde later on allowed Pemberton to remain in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. While on trial, Pemberton stayed in an air-conditioned cargo container guarded by American soldiers inside the Joint US Military Assistance Group compound. Lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc said Pemberton should be treated like an ordinary prisoner as they decried the supposed defiance of the court ruling by the US. They said the Philippine government should assert its jurisdiction over the US Marine as a convicted criminal. READ MORE...

ALSO DISGUSTING GOVT NEGLECT: Dinky admits DSWD failed to distribute aid properly


DECEMBER 4 -PHOTO FROM GOOGLE SEARCH
SOCIAL Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman admitted Thursday that some of her personnel were negligent and failed to properly distribute relief to survivors of Typhoon “Yolanda” two years ago, after it was discovered this week that they buried sacks of rotten rice in Dagami, Leyte. Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman “I have ordered a thorough investigation... to find out who are liable and to file appropriate administrative charges against them, in accordance with civil service rules,” Soliman said, after she and her department came under fire for failing to bring prompt relief to typhoon survivors in the aftermath of Yolanda. But Soliman said they buried the relief goods because they were unfit for human consumption, and they had a duty to ensure that survivors would not receive rotten food. “We wanted to make sure that these goods that were unfit for human consumption would not be given to the survivors as a way of protecting their welfare,” Soliman said. In acknowledging gaps and “human errors” in the department’s capacity to manage relief goods, she said the Department of Social Welfare and Development continued to find ways to improve its performance as part of the lessons learned from Yolanda in 2013. “This is why we continue to enhance our warehousing capacity,” she said. Part of this efforts is the mechanized repacking system at the National Resource Operations Center in Pasay City, which was acquired in partnership with the World Food Program, Soliman said. “The system enhances the capacity of the Department to repack 50,000 family food packs per day,” she said. Senatorial candidate and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and 1BAP Rep. Silvestre Bello III said the dumping of rotting rice—and the government’s inability to account for missing cash donations—showed that the government lacks compassion or malasakit for the people. READ MORE...

ALSO: Binay camp protests asset seizure during poll period


THE CAMP of Vice President Jejomar Binay has cried foul over the latest effort of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to seize his assets in spite of a legal prohibition during the election period. “It looks like the Vice President’s enemies will not stop pressuring him and making life difficult for him and his family,” Binay’s spokesperson for political concerns Rico Quicho said in a statement on Sunday. Quicho said the AMLC filed a petition for civil forfeiture on Nov. 12 against Binay, his son, dismissed Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, and 62 other individuals and corporations as part of the agency’s investigation into the Binays’ alleged hidden wealth amassed through anomalous government deals. The AMLC accused the Binays of stashing away billions of pesos in 242 bank accounts. The civil forfeiture petition came one day after the lapse of the original six-month freeze order on the Binays’ assets. On the strength of the AMLC petition, the Manila Regional Trial Court issued a 20-day Provisional Asset Protection Order on Nov. 13 on several accounts, including one under Vice President Binay’s name, Quicho said. “Even if there’s no basis and it’s against the law, the AMLC has again petitioned the court for an asset protection order” against the assets of the Binays and their associates, Quicho said. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Guilty of homicide: US Marine gets 6-12 years, sets appeal


Left photo shows members of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups holding a rally near the US embassy prior to the verdict. Right photo shows Jeffrey ‘Jennifer’ Laude. KRIZ JOHN ROSALES/EDD GUMBAN

OLONGAPO CITY, DECEMBER 7, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Bebot Sison and Ric Sapnu -Updated December 2, 2015 - A US Marine charged with murder for the death of a Filipino transgender was found guilty yesterday of the lesser offense of homicide and sentenced to six to 12 years in prison.

Olongapo Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 74 Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde also ordered Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton to pay the family of Laude a total of P4.6 million (about $100,000): P4.325 million for lost earnings, P155,250 for the burial expenses, P50,000 in moral damages, P50,000 as civil indemnity and P30,000 in exemplary damages.

Jabalde said the Laude family’s demand for P100 million in damages was “excessive and outrageous.”

The court threw out Pemberton’s defense that he merely rendered Laude unconscious in a choke hold and that someone else had strangled and drowned Laude in a toilet bowl apparently in a robbery after the US serviceman had left the scene.

Jabalde originally ordered Pemberton’s immediate transfer to the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) in Muntinlupa pending clarification of a custody arrangement between the Philippine and US governments, but later in the day allowed his continued stay at Camp Aguinaldo. While on trial, Pemberton was detained in an air-conditioned cargo container at the military camp in Quezon City, guarded by US Marines.

As a national prisoner, Pemberton should serve his sentence at the NBP, Jabalde said.

Pemberton, an anti-tank missile operator, was convicted of the lesser charge of homicide as the court found no treachery, abuse of strength or cruelty on the part of the soldier, who was intoxicated at the time of the killing.

The 20-year-old Pemberton was on shore leave when he met Laude on Oct. 11 last year at the Ambyanz bar on Magsaysay Avenue in Olongapo City.

After several drinks, the two left the bar and checked into Celzone Lodge where the 26-year-old Laude was later found dead – with his head in the toilet – after Pemberton had left. Cause of death was determined to be drowning.

READ MORE...

The incident sparked outrage, with militants and activists demanding the cancellation of military agreements between the US and the Philippines, especially the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which allows rotational deployment of US forces in the country.

Pemberton was part of the US forces that participated in joint drills with the Philippine military in Zambales.

The court’s lengthy decision – read for more than three hours by Clerk of Court Gerry Gruspe – included a retelling of Pemberton’s and the witnesses’ testimonies in the trial.

The soldier testified that he had several drinks on the night of the killing. He said Laude and a companion, whom he thought were women, approached him at the bar and offered to have sex with him. After checking into a motel, Laude’s companion – Mark Clarence “Barbie” Gelviro – left, purportedly to buy condoms.

The Marine said he was enraged at discovering Laude was a man. He said this led to a fight that prompted him to choke hold Laude to subdue her.

He claimed Laude was still alive and breathing when he left the motel, and that somebody else might have killed the transgender.

A fellow Marine testified that Pemberton admitted killing a “he-she,” referring to Laude, upon his return to their ship, the USS Peleliu, then docked at the Subic port.


INQUIRER

No Bilibid time for Pemberton By: Allan Macatuno, Tarra Quismundo
@inquirerdotnet Inquirer Central Luzon, Philippine Daily Inquirer 02:01 AM December 3rd, 2015


MOMENT OF TRUTH US Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton, the lone suspect in the killing of transgender woman Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, is escorted inside a court in Olongapo City, Zambales province, for the promulgation of the verdict on his case. Pemberton was found guilty of homicide and was sentenced to a jail term of six to 12 years. AP FILE PHOTO

OLONGAPO CITY, Philippines—A memorandum of agreement (MOA) has been drawn up by the Philippine and US governments that will allow convicted US Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton to serve his sentence at Camp Aguinaldo under the supervision of the Bureau of Corrections, lawyers said.

“We are just waiting for the official transmittal of the agreement [to Olongapo Regional Trial Court Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde],” Rowena Garcia-Flores, Pemberton’s lead counsel, told reporters on Tuesday night.

A two-hour standoff ensued after US security escorts refused to turn over Pemberton to the Philippine National Police after the court rendered the decision on Tuesday.

It ended when Jabalde acted on a motion filed by Pemberton’s lawyers that allowed their client to be returned to the Armed Forces of the Philippines custodial center in Camp Aguinaldo, where he had been detained for more than a year.

Jabalde earlier on Tuesday convicted Pemberton of homicide for the 2014 death of transgender woman Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude and sentenced him to six to 12 years in prison.

Details of the arrangement were outlined to Jabalde by an official of the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), who intervened after Jabalde directed the police to commit Pemberton at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City pending an agreement between the Philippine and US governments on where he would be eventually detained.

“It was not clear to the judge as to where Pemberton should be detained but when officials of the US Embassy and the VFA Commission explained it to her, she realized Pemberton should be detained in an area inside Camp Aguinaldo,” Flores told reporters.

New order

The new order gave the VFA Commission five days to produce an MOA that would establish where Pemberton would be detained.

Harry Roque Jr., counsel for the Laude family, confirmed that Eduardo Oban, VFA Commission executive director, had informed Jabalde that Pemberton must serve his sentence in a mutually agreed detention facility.

READ MORE...

“The VFA Commission must be able to produce that signed MOA, otherwise, we have to follow the first commitment order by the judge that Pemberton must be detained at NBP,” Roque said.

Roque, however, lamented the actions by Philippine officials. “Instead of asserting our sovereignty, officials of the VFA Commission were protecting the interest of the [United States],” he told the Inquirer.

The court ruled that Pemberton shoved Laude’s head into a toilet bowl inside their rented motel room in a fit of rage after discovering that Laude was a man.

Government prosecutors had charged Pemberton with murder, but Jabalde concluded that the prosecution’s evidence could not establish without reasonable doubt that the American soldier used treachery and his military training to kill Laude.

Deal cut in August

Jose Justiniano, a former justice undersecretary who had earlier supervised the soldier’s prosecution, said yesterday that talks between the Philippines and the United States started in August to settle Pemberton’s place of confinement once convicted.

“There was already an agreement that the AFP would be the custodial place. That’s why the US government is insisting that he should be brought to Camp Aguinaldo,” Justiniano said.

“The US government only holds that position because they know the conditions inside Bilibid. And that’s OK. All they’re after is the safety of their citizens. Especially since this involves a soldier, and you know how much they protect soldiers,” said Justiniano, who is now back in private practice.

US guards out

The only difference now, according Justiniano, is that Filipino correctional officers should keep watch over Pemberton’s quarters, and not US personnel as was the arrangement during the trial.

“I don’t think there’s any irregularity there. There shouldn’t be any vagueness, because the agreement specifically said he should be held at the AFP Custodial Center,” Justiniano said in a telephone interview yesterday.

Justiniano once worked as a defense lawyer for US Marines tagged in allegedly raping a local woman, nicknamed “Nicole,” in Olongapo City in November 2005. While the primary accused, Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith, was initially convicted of the crime, he was let off on appeal when his accuser recanted.

Amid the outrage of Nicole’s supporters at the time, Smith, who was briefly detained at Makati City Jail, was held inside the US Embassy compound in Manila during the appeals process based on an agreement between the Philippine and US governments.

Temporary freedom

Justiniano said Pemberton could seek temporary liberty if he goes to the Court of Appeals to overturn his conviction.

“Since he was convicted already for [a lower offense of] homicide, he can apply for bail; but of course whether or not that should be granted is at the discretion of the court because there are rules that after conviction no bail shall be granted unless the court rules otherwise,” Justiniano said.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said in a statement that he believes Pemberton should be detained in Muntinlupa and that he expects the United States to comply with the court’s decision.

“Any further delay would be prejudicial to both parties,” he said.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said the Laude case would set a dangerous precedent for transgenders because the judge considered a mitigating circumstance (and not a qualifying circumstance for murder) Pemberton’s shock at having found out that Laude was a transgender woman.

He said being charged with homicide meant that Pemberton could be eligible for early release in three to five years. With a reports from Jerome Aning, Gil Cabacungan and Christine O. Avendaño

RELATED STORIES

DOJ: Pemberton to remain in Camp Aguinaldo

Pemberton returns to Camp Aguinaldo

Pemberton admits he choked Laude


TRIBUNE

Bilibid or not: Custody battle for Pemberton looms after verdict Written by Tribune Wires Thursday, 03 December 2015 00:00 f


PEMBERTON

US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton has been convicted, but the Philippine and the United States governments are set for a potentially messy legal and diplomatic custody battle over the American serviceman.

The Olongapo Regional Trial Court the other day handed down the verdict to have Pemberton held at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) from Camp Aguinaldo, however US officials who were with Pemberton refused to hand him over to the Philippine National Police (PNP) for detention, vehemently defying the order of the court.

A standoff between officials ensued which ended in a modification of the court’s earlier ruling. Pemberton is back at Camp Aguinaldo and will stay there for five days until Manila and Washington finalize a detention facility under Philippine control, in full compliance with the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

There were calls for the Aquino administration to transfer Pemberton to a regular jail instead of detaining him in a facility inside Camp Aguinaldo.

Sources said a detention facility inside the AFP Custodial Center at Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) compound in Camp Aguinaldo – which will become an extension facility of the Bureau of Corrections (Bucor) is now being prepared to accommodate Pemberton.

They added the facility being prepared for Pemberton was used in the detention of the military rebels, including the Magdalo leaders who launched the July 2003 Oakwood mutiny.
It was gathered that the detention facility – now undergoing repairs, was the one agreed upon by the Philippine and US governments.

The Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 74 convicted Pemberton of killing Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude and sentenced him to six to 12 years imprisonment for homicide.

From the court room, Pemberton was transported back to Camp Aguinaldo Tuesday night where he was detained to his original detention at the compound of the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB).

READ MORE...

The US Marine was subsequently placed under the Bucor custody.

“It is possible that Pemberton may be transferred to another detention facility at some point, as provided under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA),” the Justice department statement said.

Harry Roque, legal counsel for the family, said they will question Pemberton’s detention at Camp Aguinaldo.


ROQUE

“What happened inside the court was a constitutional crisis. If the judge did not give in, it will apparently tell that nobody follows Philippine courts,” he told the Tribune in a phone interview, adding he’s contemplating on filing contempt charges against Philippine officials.

“The Philippine National Police was willing and able to implement the ruling but it was clear that some surrendered to American pressure,” he noted.

Roque said the standoff is the outcome of discussions between the US and Philippine governments on the provisions of the VFA that determine the place of detention where a convicted soldier should serve his sentence.

“The good thing about standoff yesterday was we showed to ordinary Filipino what we mean when we say that VFA violates Philippine sovereignty,” he said.

Roque, an international law expert, added the VFA’s protection of Pemberton is “revolting,” saying it’s mocking the country’s justice system.

“We are not satisfied that Pemberton is in Camp Aguinaldo. We will argue the constitutionality of VFA. It must comply with Philippine Constitution,” the Laude family’s lawyer said.

“For as long as Pemberton is continued to be guarded by Americans, we will never know where he really is. Only Americans will know,” he stressed.

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), scored the US government’s “arrogance” in what it branded as a defiance of Philippine courts.

“Once again, the US gets its way. Pemberton’s US escorts openly defied a lawful order, inside a Philippine court no less,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said.

“The US again invokes the VFA to ensure that even a convicted American soldier gets special treatment,” he added.

Bayan also warned that the US may still try to overturn the verdict when it appeals the ruling in a higher court.

Reyes cited another US Marine, Daniel Smith, who was convicted of raping a Filipina but was subsequently overturned by the Court of Appeals.

“The VFA has been a long-running affront to our national sovereignty. It makes a mockery of our judicial proceedings. It creates a special class of persons who are given special treatment,” Reyes said.

Washington, for its part, vowed to comply with the provisions of the VFA following the conviction of Pemberton.

The US Embassy in Manila, in a statement issued hours after Pemberton was found guilty of homicide on Tuesday, said the US government will abide by the VFA.

“The embassy notes that the Olongapo Regional Trial Court Branch 74 has reached a decision in the case of Lance Corporal Pemberton,” the US Embassy stated.

“We will continue to proceed in full compliance with the Visiting Forces Agreement,” it added without further elaborating.

US forces participating in the military exercises in the Philippines are covered by the VFA, which provides, among others, that American soldiers convicted of crime in the Philippines shall be detained in a facility agreed upon by the governments of the two countries.

Malacañang, for its part, was mum on where Pemberton should be imprisoned.

“I have no response to that because the DoJ (Department of Justice) is in charge of that so they are the ones who are responding on that,” said Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda in a regular press briefing.

Relatedly, former Justice secretary and now 1BAP partylist Rep. Silvestre Bello III said Pemberton, having been convicted of homicide by a lower court, can be granted bail because the crime of homicide is a bailable offense until a final verdict is handed down.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, also a lawyer, confirmed that Pemberton may, indeed, be granted bail as a result of the decision.

“You know, his conviction is homicide which is a bailable offense,” Bello told reporter during a minority bloc press conference yesterday.

He pointed out that because Pemberton will contest the decision before a higher court, presumably the Court of Appeals, he now faces the offense which under Philippine laws is bailable.

“Now, his conviction for the record, is not yet final. In other words, he still enjoys the constitutional presumption of innocence,” explained Bello.

Bello and Tinio, however, warned that Pemberton could leave the country anytime once allowed to post bail.

The former justice secretary, who also used to be the chief legal counsel under former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, added the convicted US serviceman can go anywhere within the country but must be present when the court summons him.

In the same press conference, Gabriela partylist Rep. Emmi de Jesus urged the courts not to grant bail for Pemberton in case he files a petition on the issue.

By Joshua L. Labonera, Ted Tuvera, Mario J. Mallari and Gerry Baldo


PHILSTAR

No special treatment for Pemberton – Noy By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 6, 2015 - 12:00am 0 4 googleplus0 0


US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton

ROME – There is no special treatment for US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, who was convicted of homicide for the death of Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude in Olongapo last year, President Aquino said on Friday.

He told reporters Pemberton is now detained in a Philippine-controlled facility in Camp Aguinaldo which can be considered an extension of the Bureau of Corrections.

The President went to Rome for an official visit after attending a climate summit in France.

“The facility in the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) is going to be manned by Bureau of Corrections personnel or is already being manned by Bureau of Corrections personnel. In effect, this is an extension of the Bilibid and consistent with the agreements under the VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement),” the President said.

“The bottom line is, as a sovereign state, we have an agreement with another sovereign state. It has been there. The court has ruled. Pemberton faced the court. He was sentenced by our court, our personnel will secure him so he can serve his sentence,” he added.

Aquino also lashed out at critics who were claiming that Pemberton was being treated as a special prisoner in the country.

“By the very nature of our agreement, we have an agreed upon detention facility. But they (critics) will say that since the detention facility is different, it is already special,” he said.

Earlier, Pemberton, who was charged with murder, was found guilty of the lesser offense of homicide and was sentenced to six to 12 years in prison by a local court.

Olongapo Regional Trial Court Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde also ordered the US Marine to pay the family of Laude a total of P4.6 million for lost earnings, burial expenses, moral damages, civil indemnity and exemplary damages.

The court initially ordered the transfer of Pemberton to the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa pending a custody arrangement between the Philippines and the United States. Jabalde later on allowed Pemberton to remain in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

While on trial, Pemberton stayed in an air-conditioned cargo container guarded by American soldiers inside the Joint US Military Assistance Group compound.

Lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc said Pemberton should be treated like an ordinary prisoner as they decried the supposed defiance of the court ruling by the US.

They said the Philippine government should assert its jurisdiction over the US Marine as a convicted criminal.

READ MORE...

Aquino expressed belief the court ruling would not strain the defense ties between the Philippines and the US.

“The rule of law happens in our country. It is respected by the other state. Therefore, it redounds to both parties’ benefits that are not unequal,” he said.

“We have equality among two equally sovereign states and if you commit a crime, you will be held accountable. That leads to an enhanced relationship between us and America,” he added.

Filipinos and their American colonizers fought side by side against the Japanese invaders in World War II.

In 1951 or six years after World War II, the Philippines – then already independent from the US – signed the Mutual Defense Treaty with the US.

The treaty allows each country to run to the aid of the other in case of foreign invasion.

The Philippines also forged the Visiting Forces Agreement in 1998 with the US, which allows rotational presence of American forces in the Philippines for joint drills and socio-civic activities.


MANILA STANDARD

Dinky admits DSWD failed to distribute aid properly posted December 04, 2015 at 12:01 am by Christine F. Herrera, Ronald O. Reyes and Macon Ramos-Araneta


FROM GOOGLE SEARCH

SOCIAL Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman admitted Thursday that some of her personnel were negligent and failed to properly distribute relief to survivors of Typhoon “Yolanda” two years ago, after it was discovered this week that they buried sacks of rotten rice in Dagami, Leyte.

Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman “I have ordered a thorough investigation... to find out who are liable and to file appropriate administrative charges against them, in accordance with civil service rules,” Soliman said, after she and her department came under fire for failing to bring prompt relief to typhoon survivors in the aftermath of Yolanda.

But Soliman said they buried the relief goods because they were unfit for human consumption, and they had a duty to ensure that survivors would not receive rotten food.

“We wanted to make sure that these goods that were unfit for human consumption would not be given to the survivors as a way of protecting their welfare,” Soliman said.

In acknowledging gaps and “human errors” in the department’s capacity to manage relief goods, she said the Department of Social Welfare and Development continued to find ways to improve its performance as part of the lessons learned from Yolanda in 2013.

“This is why we continue to enhance our warehousing capacity,” she said.

Part of this efforts is the mechanized repacking system at the National Resource Operations Center in Pasay City, which was acquired in partnership with the World Food Program, Soliman said.

“The system enhances the capacity of the Department to repack 50,000 family food packs per day,” she said.

Senatorial candidate and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and 1BAP Rep. Silvestre Bello III said the dumping of rotting rice—and the government’s inability to account for missing cash donations—showed that the government lacks compassion or malasakit for the people.

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At the Know your Candidates Forum at Aloha Hotel in Roxas Boulevard, Bello said two years after Yolanda devastated Eastern Visayas, the survivors as well as donors were still raising the same question to the DSWD and Soliman: Where did the billions go?

Bello said the survivors complained that instead of the donated imported corned beef and Spam, the relief goods they received were local 555 corned beef and sardines.

The mishandling of relief goods and donations has undermined the faith of foreign and local donors, the two lawmakers said.

“It is quite telling that after two years, the DSWD has not been transparent and despite the Commission on Audit’s discovery of cash donations amounting to more than P300 million not being disbursed, the government still has to account for it and for the billions that had been donated by local and foreign donors,” said Romualdez, whose district that includes Tacloban City, which was among the hardest hit by Yolanda.

Bello said he could not understand where the DSWD brought the billions in donations and why the government was quiet about it.

Bello said one week after Yolanda struck, the 1BAP immediately went to Tacloban City and Eastern Visayas provinces to distribute relief goods.

“We have heard not only from Yolanda survivors but also from [Typhoon] ‘Lando’ victims the same complaint that we have heard two years ago, that they could not see where the relief goods were brought, that the donations from other countries were replaced by local goods and now we hear hundreds of thousands of sacks of rice rotting and being buried and hidden from the public,” Bello said. “Most especially, where did the billions in donations go? Why can’t the government account for it?”

Romualdez said everything boiled down to inefficiency and non-transparency in addressing the handling and distribution of goods and money.

“For the past two years, we have been asking the government to account for the billions in local and foreign donations to no avail. The new normal now is we will be hit by even stronger typhoons and earthquakes and God forbid, who from among the donors would trust that their donations of goods and money would go to the rightful recipients?” Romualdez said.

In Tacloban City, an alliance of Yolanda survivors lambasted the government over the sacks of rotten rice dumped in Dagami.

“Once again, Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman proves how heartless she is, for deliberately allowing such goods intended for the storm survivors to go to waste. Worse is when she tries to hide her stinking mess,” said Efleda Bautista, chairperson of the People Surge alliance.

“We challenge Dinky Soliman to eat at least a pinch of those spoiled goods, for those could have averted the death of storm survivors who died of hunger after Yolanda, and yet it was deliberately left to rot,” she added.

Last week, policemen in Dagami were alerted of an on-going disposal of sacks of rice marked National Food Authority and DSWD in an excavated hole at the village of Macaalang.

DSWD Regional Director Nestor Ramos admitted that the sacks of rice were from their office.

In a local television report here in the city, Ramos said that the rice were intended for the victims of Typhoon Ruby in December for three provinces in Samar and not for the victims of Yolanda.

Also on Thursday, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. called for an investigation into the reported dumping.

“Rice dumping is suspicious at the very least,” said Marcos. He noted that the NFA had earlier announced that spoiled rice may still be used as animal feed.

“I’ll await the findings of the concerned agencies and local authorities but if I’m not satisfied we will dig deeper into this matter,” he added.

“Wasting rice is disgusting enough but if it turns out that these are relief goods, then it’s even more appalling. Somebody should answer for this,” Marcos said.

Earlier, Marcos lamented the slow pace of the government’s rehabilitation efforts in areas hardest hit by Yolanda despite billions of pesos allocated in the budget and from international donors.

“What is disgusting is the government’s refusal to explain how the funds for Yolanda victims were spent!” Marcos said.

“This government does not feel the need to explain themselves in any way; never mind the tens of thousands that still live in makeshift homes, never mind that people have no jobs or source of livelihood,” he added.


INQUIRER

Binay camp protests asset seizure during poll period By: DJ Yap
@inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 01:59 AM December 7th, 2015



THE CAMP of Vice President Jejomar Binay has cried foul over the latest effort of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to seize his assets in spite of a legal prohibition during the election period.

“It looks like the Vice President’s enemies will not stop pressuring him and making life difficult for him and his family,” Binay’s spokesperson for political concerns Rico Quicho said in a statement on Sunday.

Quicho said the AMLC filed a petition for civil forfeiture on Nov. 12 against Binay, his son, dismissed Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, and 62 other individuals and corporations as part of the agency’s investigation into the Binays’ alleged hidden wealth amassed through anomalous government deals.

The AMLC accused the Binays of stashing away billions of pesos in 242 bank accounts.

The civil forfeiture petition came one day after the lapse of the original six-month freeze order on the Binays’ assets.

On the strength of the AMLC petition, the Manila Regional Trial Court issued a 20-day Provisional Asset Protection Order on Nov. 13 on several accounts, including one under Vice President Binay’s name, Quicho said.

“Even if there’s no basis and it’s against the law, the AMLC has again petitioned the court for an asset protection order” against the assets of the Binays and their associates, Quicho said.

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He noted, however, that this time the AMLC had asked the Manila court to freeze only one Binay account with a deposit of P1.7 million, “an admission that it had no solid evidence against the Vice President.”

Quicho said the AMLC’s petition was a blatant violation of Republic Act No. 1379, which prohibits the filing of civil forfeiture cases against public officials “within one year before a general election or within three months before a special election.”

He said the prohibition was explicitly provided for in the law to deter political harassment.

“This is a clear abuse of authority on the part of the AMLC, whose only aim is to destroy the reputation of a political adversary of the administration,” the spokesperson said.

“Besides the fact that there’s no basis and evidence, Vice President Binay has always said that agencies of government are being used against him through demolition by perception,” Quicho said, adding that this included his son’s suspension from office.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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