UNITED States Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, the convicted killer of transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude two years ago, is still in the country and currently detained at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana told lawmakers yesterday.
Lorenzana made the assurance before the House committee on appropriations’ hearing chaired by Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles where he defended the P178.2-billion budget of the Department of National Defense (DND) under next year’s P3.35-trillion General Appropriations Bill (GAB).
“He is inside Aguinaldo and guarded by guards of Bureau of Prisons,” Lorenzana told the panel in response to the query made by Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque, one of the lawyers of Laude family, about Pemberton’s whereabouts.
“We need information, if possible, take picture; we need to know the condition where a convicted murderer is being detained,” Roque said.
On December 1, 2015, Pemberton was convicted for homicide following the death of Laude at the Celzone lodge in Olongapo City on October 11, 2014.
Lorenzana said there is no truth to the information received by Roque that Pemberton was not detained at the Armed Forces of Philippines (AFP) headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
In fact, Lorenzana said the “enclosed” and “air-conditioned” jail facility of Pemberton is beside his quarters in Aguinaldo.
The defense secretary also assured the panel that no public fund is used for the detention facility of Pemberton.
“Wala po (no public fund is spent), parang container lang na dinala ng mga Amerikano at sila ang nag-put up ng facilities,” Lorenzana said.
“We don’t see any US soldiers guarding him, mga Pilipino ang mga nakikita ko,” he said, adding the AFP would not permit US soldiers to guard Pemberton.