Bureau of Immigration Orders Deportation of US Marine in Olongapo Slay Case

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MANILA — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has issued a deportation order on American soldier Joseph Scott Pemberton who is the prime suspect in the death of Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude in a hotel in Olongapo City in October 2014.
In a five-page resolution, the BI Board of Commissioners issued the deportation order for being an undesirable foreigner even as the US Marine is still on trial for the killing of Laude.

The immigration bureau clarified, however, that the deportation order could not be immediately enforced pending clearance from the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 74, which is hearing Pemberton’s case.BI spokesperson Elaine Tan said “Pemberton would not be deported until we get clearance from the court… We would have to wait for the court’s decision before we could physically deport him.”

The murder case is set for promulgation on Dec. 14.
Tan said that if the court finds Pemberton guilty, he must serve his sentence first before he can be sent back to the United States. But if he is acquitted, then he would be immediately deported, Tan added.
Tan said that despite the deportation order, the Marine would remain in detention at Camp Aguinaldo and would not be placed under the custody of the BI.
“Wherefore, we find respondent Joseph Scott Pemberton, American national, to be an undesirable alien and order his deportation, subject to the issuance of a clearance from the Regional Trial Court, Branch 74, Olongapo City and other appropriate government agencies,” said the resolution dated Sept. 16, 2015 but released only this week.
The order also banned Pemberton from reentering the country.
Pemberton is detained at the Armed Forces of the Philippines headquarters in Quezon City.

In making its order, the BI  cited the testimonies of Mark Clarence “Barbie” Gelviro before the Senate hearing and Elias Galamos, the cashier of the Celzone Lodge, Olongapo City, and the finding of probable cause by the City Prosecutor and Regional Trial Court, Branch 74, Olongapo City.
“In deportation cases, even an iota of evidence showing that an alien is unfit to remain in the country is sufficient. Considering all the attendant circumstances: (1) Gelviro’s statement before the Senate hearing is credible, clear, and consistent as he directly and categorically narrated how, when, and where Respondent murdered Laude; (2) Elias Galamos, the cashier of the lodge, corroborated Gelviro’s statement. He allegedly saw Pemberton walk out of the room and leave the lodge less than an hour after they checked in; (3) the finding of probable cause by the Office of the City Prosecutor of Olongapo City; (4) the finding of probable cause and issuance of a warrant of arrest by the regional Trial Court, Branch 74, Olongapo City – is to our mind more than an iota of proof of his undesirability,” the decision added.
The decision stemmed on the case filed by the BI’s Law Division against Pemberton for posing a risk to public interest (undesirability) and included his name in the bureau’s watch list on Oct. 26, 2014.

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