Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte pardoned a U.S. Marine convicted of murdering a Filipino to help the country’s chances of receiving a future U.S.-made coronavirus vaccine, Duterte’s spokesman claimed Thursday.
Duterte on Monday granted an “absolute pardon” to Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton, who had served over half of a ten-year prison sentence for the 2014 murder of a transgender Filipino named Jennifer Laude prior to the announcement.
According to Philippine news outlet Coconuts Manila, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, who once served as Laude’s lawyer, said in a virtual press briefing on Thursday that he was not surprised by Duterte’s decision to pardon the U.S. Marine, as “the president has broader national interests to protect.” Roque explained:
[D]uring this pandemic, we all know that only four countries are making a [Chinese coronavirus] vaccine. We’ve all noticed how the president gives emphasis on acquiring vaccines, so my view of this is, and