Malacañang on Monday denied that President Rodrigo Duterte had pledged to hold Jennifer Laude’s murderer Joseph Pemberton in detention until the end of his presidency.
“Ang alam ko po, walang ganiyang promise ang Presidente. Ang pangako po ni Presidente ay bibigyan ng katarungan ang pagkamatay ni Jennifer Laude, at nakulong naman po si Pemberton nang halos anim na taon,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in a virtual briefing.
Laude’s mother Julita last week claimed that Duterte had made a promise to not allow Pemberton’s release for the duration of his presidential term.
“Sabi niya na hangga’t siya raw ang nakaupo, hinding-hindi niya papayagan na makalaya si Pemberton,” she said in a message relayed by Laude family lawyer Virginia Suarez.
Roque, a former lawyer of the Laude family, refuted Julita’s statement and said the president never met with the family.
“Unlike iyong iba kong kliyente, for instance iyong mga kliyente ng Maguindanao Massacre, hindi po na-meet ni Mrs. Laude ang ating presidente,” he said.
Duterte granted absolute pardon to Pemberton on Sept. 7. The pardon absolved Pemberton from punishment and expedited the American’s release.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente on Sunday said Pemberton would be banned from reentering the country once deported. John Ezekiel J. Hirro