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Newly appointed Justice Secretary Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa on Thursday clarified that US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton cannot be deported while the murder case against him is still pending with a Philippine court.
And if he is found guilty of killing Filipina transgender woman Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude, Pemberton will still have to serve his sentence first before he can be deported, added Caguioa.
"In the case of US Marine Lance Corp. Joseph Scott Pemberton, the murder case filed against him... is still pending trial before an Olongapo City Regional Trial Court," said Caguioa in a statement.
"Hence, Pemberton is under the jurisdiction of the trial court and the deportation order issued by the Bureau of Immigration cannot be implemented during the pendency of the trial on the case," he added.
Caguioa's clarification comes after a Bureau of Immigration declaration that Pemberton was an undesirable alien.
The justice secretary said it was within the BI's jurisdiction to determine a foreigner's undesirability, arising from the person's existing criminal or civil cases.
The BI's declaration that an alien is undesirable will result in his deportation, he added.
Pemberton is accused of killing 26-year-old Laude, who was found dead inside a lodge in Olongapo City on Oct. 11, 2014. The two were last seen entering the lodge after meeting in a bar.
Pemberton was earlier transferred from the US Navy ship USS Peleliu docked in Subic to a US facility in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
The murder case is being handled by Judge Roline Jinez-Jabalde of the Olongapo Regional Trial Court Branch 74. —JST, GMA News.
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