CA upholds homicide ruling on Pemberton
The Court of Appeals' decision to uphold a lower court's conviction of the United States Marine found guilty of killing Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude in Olongapo City in 2014 will not alter the U.S. government's respect for the rule of law and its commitment to abide by the provisions stipulated in its bilateral visiting forces agreement with the Philippines. "Self-defense, like alibi, is a defense which can easily be concocted, as it is in this case", the ruling penned by Associate Justice Marlene Gonzales-Sison stated.
It affirmed the lower court's decision sentencing the US Marine to 6 to 10 years imprisonment.
Pemberton pushed Laude, causing her to slap him in retaliation, according to the International Business Times.
Pemberton's lawyer Rowena Garcia-Flores said they will now be lodging a further appeal with the Philippine Supreme Court.
Pemberton's motion for reconsideration has been junked by the lower court, prompting him to raise his case before the CA. "Clearly, Pemberton intended the natural effect of his wrongful act".
Pemberton, who was last person to be seen with Laude while she was still alive, was convicted for Laude's death on October 11, 2014.
It ordered Pemberton, 21, to pay 4-1/2 million pesos (S$127,300) in indemnity to the family of Mr Laude.
The appellate court, however, revised the civil indemnity and moral damages set by the RTC at P50,000 to P75,000 each.
The appellate court struck down the appeal "for lack of merit".
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It also affirmed the P155,250 actual damages as Laude's family was able to prove through actual receipts of damages representing autopsy, wake, and burial expenses.
"Pemberton unabashedly plunged [Mr.] Laude's head in the toilet for the puerile reason that [Mr.] Laude pretended to be a woman".
"Consequently, the argument that Pemberton was not under local custody during the trial has no leg to stand on".
"With the above disquisition, the conviction of Pemberton for homicide is undeniable", the court added.
Associate Justices Ramon Cruz and Henri Jean Paul Inting concurred with this ruling.
"The fact that a member of the US Marines was found guilty for breach of our criminal laws for the very first time is an affirmation of Philippine sovereignty", he said.
Following the CA's affirmation of the verdict against Pemberton, some party-list lawmakers on Monday called for his immediate transfer to the national penitentiary.
Brosas also denounced what she called a "special treatment" to Pemberton, an American serviceman who is now detained in a restricted facility at the Armed Forces headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
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