Actress Liza Soberano joined a chorus of outrage over President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to grant absolute pardon to Joseph Scott Pemberton, a US Marine convicted of killing a Filipino transgender in 2014.
"So a murderer was just released for good conduct," Liza wrote on Twitter. "Are we supposed to just forget that he killed Jennifer Laude because he's done some good?"
The development comes amid public outcry over an Olongapo City court order for Pemberton's release before his prison term of six to 10 years for homicide over the slay of Laude.
However, his release was put on hold after the family of Laude and some government officials said they are appealing the court's order.
An absolute pardon is "the total extinction of the criminal liability of the individual to whom it is granted without any condition whatsoever resulting in the full restoration of his civil rights."
In a taped press briefing aired on Monday night, September 7, Duterte defended his decision, saying the country “did not treat [Pemberton] fairly” when one considers the “presumption” of his “good character."
"We should allow him the good character presumption, kasi wala namang nag-report na Marines na nagsabing nagwawala siya," he said.
"You have not treated Pemberton fairly. So, i-release ko. Pardon. Eh ang pardon, walang mga question 'yan," added Duterte, who said he discussed the matter with Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.
"Nakakaiyak na sa disappointment," Liza wrote in a separate tweet, with the hashtags #JusticeForJenniferLaude and #TransLivesMatter.
"You think this murderer (I'm not even gonna say his name) wasn't treated fairly but, was it fair that Jennifer Laude was murdered out of hate just because of her sexual orientation?"
Another question, you think this murderer (im not even gonna say his name) wasn’t treated fairly but, was it fair that Jennifer Laude was murdered out of hate just because of her sexual orientation? #TransLivesMatter— Liza Soberano (@lizasoberano) September 7, 2020
One of the more outspoken local celebrities, Liza, 22, has been vocal about her opinions on several national and social issues.
She has minced no words in criticizing the administration over a number of issues such as the forced shutdown of ABS-CBN, the anti-terror law, and the current administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.