Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Confinement issue in Philippine case

There's been a hiccup in the Philippines over where and under what conditions a U.S. Marine convicted of homicide by the local court should be confined. Details here, thanks to Excerpt:
Until the Philippine and American governments agree where he would be detained, [Lance Cpl. Joseph S.] Pemberton “should be committed in the New Bilibid Prison where national prisoners are confined or detained under [the supervision of the] Bureau of Corrections,” [the trial court judge] said. 
The case revived a debate over which government should have custody of US military personnel who run afoul of local laws under the VFA the two allies signed in 1998. 
The [Visiting Forces Agreement] says the Philippines can prosecute American service members, but that the United States has custody over them “from the commission of the offense until completion of all judicial proceedings.” 
However, the Philippine Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that convicted US personnel must serve their sentences in the Philippines.
In a compromise last year, the United States agreed to have Pemberton detained at Jusmag guarded by US Marines with an outer ring of Filipino forces. 
Despite the US Embassy request that it continue to retain custody of Pemberton, the DOJ yesterday said the PNP would take custody of the convicted American Marine so he could be transported to Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, where he will be received by [Bureau of Corrections] personnel. 
“He (Pemberton) will be transported, under the guard of personnel of the Philippine National Police, to Camp Aguinaldo. He shall be received by personnel of the BuCor and immediately detained there until his appeal is decided with finality by our courts,” the DOJ said in a statement. 
At around 7 p.m., Justice Undersecretary Emmanuel Caparas told reporters that Pemberton was “already on his way to Camp Aguinaldo under PNP guard.” 
The DOJ said it was “possible” that Pemberton may be transferred to another detention facility “at some point,” as provided under the VFA. 
“In any case, his detention shall at times be carried out within Philippine territory, under guard by and in line with existing regulations of the BuCor, in observance of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Nicolas v. Romulo (11 February 2009),” the DOJ added. 
It was referring to the case involving American Marine Daniel Smith who was accused of raping a Filipino woman in 2005 but was later acquitted after the complainant recanted. 
The Department of Foreign Affairs said that under the VFA, Pemberton should be detained at Camp Aguinaldo. 
“The VFA provides that the confinement or detention by the Philippine authorities of US personnel shall be carried out in facilities agreed on by appropriate Philippines and US authorities,” Assistant Secretary Charles Jose, spokesperson for the DFA, said in a text message. 
“In this case, the agreed location is in Camp Aguinaldo,” Jose said.
The two countries will be generating a memorandum of understanding concerning LCpl Pemberton's custody in the next few days.

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