MANILA – The enforcement of warrant of arrest on US Marine Scott Pemberton will be done within the Philippines laws and the purview of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said on Wednesday.
”We have to follow the right process right now. There was a warrant of arrest that was issued by the court and so, as a matter of procedure, we have to enforce the warrant,” Lacierda said in a media briefing in Malacanang.
Lacierda said the Philippine government has formally seek custody of Pemberton after an Olongapo City court issued last Tuesday night a warrant of arrest for his alleged involvement in the October killing of a Filipino transgender in Olongapo City.
”Now, again, all this should be done within the purview of the VFA,” he said.
Although the VFA provides custody of any American personnel to the US military authorities, Lacierda said still the Philippines should have to issue the warrant of arrest of Pemberton.
”There is the provision of the VFA, but that shouldn’t stop us to formally seek custody of the US serviceman,” Lacierda said.
Lacierda emphasized that the warrant of arrest will be enforced with full coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs, the VFA and the US Embassy.
”We certainly would hope full cooperation with the US Embassy with respect to this point. But we have to go through the process of the VFA provisions,” he stressed.
Pemberton is detained at the Camp Aguinaldo under the watch of the US personnel.
On the suggestion of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago to detain Pemberton in a city jail where he committed the crime, Lacierda said “we will have to defer to VFA, the DFA and the Department of Justice.”