The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Sunday deported US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton following his release from prison.
BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said Pemberton left the country on board a military plane for the United States at exactly 9:14 a.m.
“Pemberton has successfully been deported, military plane left at exactly 9:14 this morning,” Sandoval confirmed in a message to reporters.
Pemberton, who has made headlines after being convicted of killing transgender Jennifer Laude in 2014, has likewise been banned from reentering the Philippines.
“As a consequence of the deportation order against him, Pemberton has been placed in the Bureau’s blacklist, perpetually banning him from coming back,” BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said in a press release issued on Sunday.
Morente said Pemberton has been in the BI’s blacklist since Sept. 16, 2015, when he was ordered deported by the Board of Commissioners for being an undesirable alien, after being charged for murder, and later being convicted of homicide.
Pemberton reportedly filed a motion for reconsideration in November 2015, which was subsequently denied.
The resolution stated that Pemberton’s continued presence in the Philippines is not conducive “for the safety, welfare, happiness, or good order of Philippine society.”
“His criminal case is separate from his immigration case,” said Morente. “The Bureau saw that he is a risk to public safety, having been found guilty of the crime. Hence he was tagged as an undesirable alien, and will be expelled from the Philippines,” Morente said.
The BI ordered Pemberton’s deportation more than three months before the Olongapo court rendered its verdict, which found him guilty of homicide and sentenced him to six to 12 years in prison.
“Following standard deportation procedures, we had to wait until he completed serving his sentence before we could implement the deportation order,” he added.
Morente said Pemberton underwent regular processing and booking procedures and was required to secure clearances from the appropriate offices, as well as to present a travel document, and outbound travel arrangements, before being deported.
“Upon completion of the required documents, we immediately implemented the deportation,” Morente said. “He was escorted by BI agents to ensure that he has boarded his aircraft. Should he attempt to reenter the country after being deported, he will be denied entry and will be excluded.”
Sandoval said BI personnel escorted US Marine from Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
“Also with him were Embassy representatives. But at the plane, he was with US military,” Sandoval added.
In a statement on Sunday, the US Embassy said the Department of Justice authorized the release of Pemberton on Sept. 1 and President Rodrigo Duterte granted him an “absolute pardon” on Sept. 7.
“All legal proceedings in the case took place under Philippine jurisdiction and law. Lance Cpl. Pemberton fulfilled his sentence as ordered by Philippine courts and he departed the Philippines on September 13,” the embassy said.
Meanwhile, Department of National Defense spokesman Arsenio Andolong said stricter guidelines will be crafted and implemented between the Philippines and the US in the conduct of joint exercises.
“Both sides are now more circumspect and, as a result, stricter guidelines will be crafted and implemented in the conduct of joint exercises, if there will be any and if the termination of the (Visiting Forces Agreement) VFA remains suspended,” he said.
Andolong made the comment when asked what measures should be taken by Philippines and US to avoid similar incident involving foreign soldier in the future.
“Although we have not had any exercises in the Philippines since the Covid-19 pandemic affected our country, we have engaged our American counterparts in frank discussions regarding future incidents involving visiting military personnel,” he said.
Duterte said he granted Pemberton absolute pardon as he believed the latter was not treated “fairly” while detained because his good conduct time allowance (GCTA) credits were not recorded by Philippine authorities.
The granting of pardon to Pemberton extinguished the issue of whether or not he is entitled to GCTA. (PNA)