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Harry Roque no longer a human rights lawyer after justifying Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s pardon of Joseph Scott Pemberton, say netizens

The Regional Trial Court in Olongapo City had ordered Pemberton’s release last week, noting that Pemberton gained good conduct time allowance credits for his good behavior.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque was criticized on social media after justifying President Rodrigo Duterte’s pardon for convicted murderer US Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton.

Pemberton was convicted for the 2014 murder of Jennifer Laude, and Roque served as legal counsel for the victim’s family.

“Binura na po ng Presidente kung ano pa ‘yung parusa na ipapataw kay Pemberton,” Roque said.

“Hindi na po kinakailangan bigyan ng dahilan ng Presidente ‘yan dahil ‘yung pag-grant ng pardon at parole at iyan naman po ang ating sinasabi na hindi po ‘yan katungkulan ng hudikatura kundi katungkulan ng ehekutibo,

“Puwede na po siyang umuwi dahil meron na po siyang pardon,” he added.

Netizens were all over Roque.

Duterte said that Pemberton wasn’t treated fairly, hence the pardon.

“‘Pag walang record di mo malaman kung nabilang ba o hindi. Pag ka ganon hindi kasalanan ni Pemberton. He is not required to keep a record of his own and characterize his behavior while inside the prison,” Duterte said.

“So sabi ko kay Justice Secretary [Menardo Guevarra], [Executive Secretary Salvador] Medialdea… ‘Correct me if I’m wrong but ito ang tingin ko sa kaso. You have not treated Pemberton fairly. So i-release mo’

“Pardon. Ang pardon walang maka-question niyan. Kaligayahan ko na lang magpakulong ng mga buang, mga gago but it is time that you are called upon to be fair, be fair,” Duterte added.

The Regional Trial Court in Olongapo City had ordered Pemberton’s release last week, noting that Pemberton gained good conduct time allowance credits for his good behavior.

The Laude family’s legal counsel will be appealing the court’s ruling.

Before the president’s decision, Roque said that pardoning Pemberton would be a “judicial overreach.”

“As I’ve said, the death of Jennifer Laude is symbolic of the death of the Philippines’ sovereignty. Saan kayo nakakita, ang krimen nangyari sa Pilipinas, ang biktima Pilipino, ni hindi natin nahawakan si Pemberton noong nililitis siya, at ngayon bagama’t symbolically hawak natin sila ay nandoon pa rin iyong mga Amerikanong mga sundalo?” Roque said last September 3.

“Hindi po makatarungan iyan ‘no. Pinatay po ni Pemberton si Laude na parang animal. Nilublob ang ulo sa inidoro hanggang malunod tapos binalian pa ng leeg. Hindi po tama na iyang karumal-dumal na krimen na iyan ay mapaparusahan lamang ng 5 taong pagkakakulong,” he said in a previous interview with DZMM.

Also, before Duterte became president, Roque urged the public to not vote for him.

“Please, I want you to go out and not just vote against him but convince your neighbors and friends that because the right to life is the most important of them all, please do not vote for this murderer, this self-professed murderer.”

But in 2018, he said that he speaks “for the President now. In this capacity, I have no personal opinions.”

Roque is currently in isolation after one of his security personnel tested positive for the coronavirus.

“I am on a self-imposed quarantine because one of my security aides tested positive for COVID-19 last Saturday,” Roque said in a statement.


“I myself got tested for COVID-19 last Saturday and it yielded a negative result,” he added.

Written by JO-EST B. TAN

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