Duterte Pardons U.S. Marine Guilty of Transgender Killing

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he has pardoned a U.S. marine found guilty in 2015 of killing a transgender Filipina.

Duterte said he has decided to release American soldier Joseph Scott Pemberton after serving five years out of his 10-year sentence for killing transgender woman Jennifer Laude in 2014. “We have not treated Pemberton fairly,” the Philippine leader said in a briefing on Monday, adding that the U.S. marine is presumed to be of good character after years in jail.

Duterte’s decision risks reigniting anti-American sentiment in the former U.S. colony. The president has often questioned the benefits of the Philippines’ alliance with the U.S., but has kept ties with America. In June, he walked back his decision to end a military pact with the U.S.

The pardon is a “grave injustice to the Filipino people” and “another hallmark of Philippines’ subservience to the U.S.,” said Virginia Lacsa Suarez, a lawyer for the victim’s family.

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