Murderer Pardons Another Murderer


Unity Statement of LGBTQI Organizations Against Pemberton’s Presidential Pardon


We strongly condemn the absolute pardon granted by President Rodrigo Duterte to Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, the US marine convicted for killing Filipino trans woman Jennifer Laude in Olongapo City in 2014. 

President Duterte’s claim that Pemberton has suffered injustice when he served time in a special holding cell in Camp Aguinaldo for just 5 years and 10 months out of a 10-year jail sentence is unacceptable and ludicrous. Pemberton should have served time in the National Bilibid Prison, and the President could have granted presidential pardon to a Filipino instead of an American.

Such acts done by the President at this time confirm how his government has been using the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to promote and kowtow to foreign interests which have caused profound suffering, indignity, and injustice to the Filipino people. 

In spite of earlier pronouncements from Malacañang calling the Olongapo court’s order to release Pemberton earlier as “judicial overreach,” the President’s pardon shows that his so-called support for the LGBTQI community is just mere posturing and exposes the truth about Duterte and his legacy—that as a leader, he is nothing but unjust, misogynistic, and transphobic. 

President Duterte’s pardon of Pemberton sends out a loud and clear message that a Filipino trans woman’s life does not matter, that it is open season for discrimination and violence against transgender people, and that American soldiers will continue to get away with murder in Philippine soil. 

We urge the entire LGBTQI community and our allies to unite in our opposition against Duterte’s anti-transgender, anti-LGBTQI, anti-women, and anti-people policies. Contrary to propagandists’ claims that Duterte is the president who has done the most for the LGBTQI community, all he has done is to use the LGBTQI community to further his popularity. His government never served our interests nor protected our rights and lives, and today proves that only a murderer can empathize with another murderer.









Call Her Ganda Documentary

LakanBini Advocates Pilipinas, Inc.

Gender and Development Advocates (GANDA) Filipinas

Pioneer Filipino Transgender Men Movement 

Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP Kababaihan, Inc.)

Transman Equality and Awareness Movement (TEAM)
Lagablab LGBT Network

Metro Manila Pride

Philippine Anti-Discrimination Alliance of Youth Leaders (PANTAY)

UP Babaylan

Rainbow Rights Philippines

Babaylanes, Inc. 

PUP Kasarianlan

BulSU Bahaghari

Benilde Hive


Gayon Albay LGBT Org., Inc.

True Colors Coalition (TCC)

Bicol University – MAGENTA

KAIBA Academic Collective

UP Babaylan – Baguio Chapter

APC Bahaghari

Queer Quezon

GALANG Philippines, Inc.

Camp Queer

UP Babaylan – Clark Chapter

Tribu Duag

LGBTQ+ Partylist

Youth Voices Count, Inc. 

Love Is All We Need

Women and Gender Institute

Iloilo Pride Team

Migrante Europe

Pinay sa Holland


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