No ‘exchange’ for the release of Pemberton, says Foreign Affairs

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METRO MANILA – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. posted on his twitter account yesterday that there was no “exchange” in the absolute pardon given by the president to the convicted killer US Army personnel Joseph Scott Pemberton.

Locsin said that there was no exchange and that he clinched that purely on his charm with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

He dispels public speculations that the president granted the pardon in exchange for a political favor.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said that the decision of the President had the “higher national interest” in consideration when he made the pardon.

Roque personally believes that the grant of pardon to Pemberton is part of Malacanang’s intent that the president can get access to the vaccines from the United States, and that the entire country may benefit from it.

The US is one of the countries recognized of developing the vaccines which currently has 900,000 fatalities worldwide.

Roque maintained that justice has already been served for the killing of transgender Jennifer Laude and Pemberton’s time in prison was months shy of the maximum jail term handed to him by the court. As former lawyer to the Laude family, Roque said that he did not see anything wrong with the president’s decision and that he shares with the President the position that Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) should be terminated.

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