MANILA – The Philippine government formally sought for custody of Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton on Tuesday following the court warrant from Olongapo City for his arrest for the murder of Filipino transgender woman Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude.
According to Assistant Secretary Charles Jose of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the government sent two letters to officials of the US Embassy through the American Affairs Office – one for the arrest order of Pemberton and the second one to request for his custody.
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario confirmed that they have send the letters.
The arrest of Pemberton was served by Olongapo Judge Roline Ginez Jabalde of the Regional Trial Court Branch 74. Copies were handed out to the DFA, Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, and National Bureau of Investigation.
When asked about where Pemberton would be detained, the court official refused to answer saying that the final judgement would rely on the judge.
If Pemberton would be detained in Olongapo City Jail, he will be sharing a cell with more or less 50 inmates.
Meanwhile, US Embassy spokesman Kurt Hoyer refused to comment and confirm whether the agency has received the arrest order and the letters of DFA.
Earlier, they have already issued a statement quoting the US-Philippine Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to remind that the United States “has a right to retain custody of a suspect from the commission of the alleged offense until the completion of all judicial proceedings.”
It added, “The United States will continue to work closely with the Philippine government to help ensure justice is served and the rights of all persons are protected. We are also expressing our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.”
Currently, Pemberton is guarded by American and Filipino soldiers in a 20-foot container in Camp Aguinaldo in AFP.