Press Release
October 22, 2014


Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, said that the U.S. has "engineered sham Philippine custody over Pemberton," after presiding over a hearing on the VFA and the Pemberton case.

"He arrived by helicopter, protected from accusing eyes. He is detained in an air-conditioned facility. Outside his door are American guards. Outside the facility are Philippine soldiers. The mere physical arrangement indicates that he is being guarded against his Filipino critics," she said.

Santiago said that she found the arrangement "offensive," because it shows VIP treatment accorded to Pemberton, owing to the U.S. desire to quell howls for Philippine custody over the marine.

"The DFA sent a diplomatic note requesting custody. If you read the VFA thoroughly, you will find that the custody requested by our government takes place 'from the time of the commission of the offense to the termination of judicial proceedings.' Therefore, the U.S. should have surrendered Pemberton immediately after he was named a suspect by the PNP SOCO team," the senator said.

Earlier, Santiago opened the hearing with a fiery speech bewailing the "iniquitous" treatment by the VFA of Philippine interests.

During the hearing, the PNP SOCO team members testified that apparently, Jennifer Laude was subjected to what Santiago called "extreme cruelty," sufficient to characterize the offense not merely as homicide, but as "cold-blooded murder."

One feature that caught the gallery by surprise was the testimony of the medico-legal officer that in addition to other serious injuries, Jennifer was apparently strangled and as a result, her tongue was hanging out when she was found dead.

According to the PNP SOCO, two condoms were found in the scene of the crime. Santiago also noted that the first condom indicated anal sex. However, the second condom apparently did not contain semen.

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