MANILA—Joseph Scott Pemberton, the US Marine who was imprisoned for the killing of Filipino transgender woman Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude has been given a prison number by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) yesterday.
Pemberton, who was detained in his temporary detention cell, a 40-foot air-conditioned shipping container, underwent regular procedures. He was taken of a mug shot, fingerprinted, and filled out an information sheet, said Ricardo Rainier Cruz, director of BuCor.
“I just don’t know what his number is right now,” Cruz was quoted as saying in a Philippine Star report.
Pemberton’s temporary detention cell is located in the compound of the Joint US Military Assistance Group (Jusmag), a facility in Camp Aguinaldo controlled by US forces.
Pemberton is guarded by six personnel from National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) and four US servicemen who serve as his secondary guards.
“We consider him as a minimum security detainee,” Cruz said in the same report.
Pemberton has not been visited by any family members, said Cruz. He added that Pemberton is likely to serve his sentence in Camp Aguinaldo instead of NBP.
Under the Visiting Forces Agreement signed between the Philippines and United States of America, Pemberton’s detention facility must follow international jail standards. According to Cruz, the facility should be surrounded with barbed wires and equipped with a closed-circuit television camera. The facility is likely to be air-conditioned.
In order for Pemberton’s detention facility to meet international standards, the BuCor is currently renovating a facility in Camp Aguinaldo. Renovation expenses will be shouldered by BuCor, with assistance from the US government.
“The jail facility that is being renovated is quite big. It can accommodate 50 persons,” Cruz said.
Meanwhile, militant groups protested the government’s alleged special treatment to Pemberton. Various groups, including Gabriela party-list rallied yesterday at the Department of Justice.
“The Aquino government has further unmasked itself as a coddler of torturers, rapists and killers, even as it hurls Philippine sovereignty down the drain,” the groups said.
“Uncle Sam’s hand is clearly behind the maneuver of Pemberton’s custody inside the AFP facility. What kind of government is this that instead of ensuring complete justice for one of its own citizen-victims of a hate crime at the hands of a US soldier, it busies itself on how to protect the safety of the killer?” Anakpawis party-list Rep. Fernando Hicap was quoted as saying in the same report.