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Who is lying on custody of Pemberton?

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(BY: ATTY. BATAS MAURIO) LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “…The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, `Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you’…” (Luke 1:27-28, the Holy Bible).

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WHAT IF MARY REFUSED TO BE THE MOTHER OF JESUS? As Christmas 2014 is just days away, let us not forget that the birth of Jesus was preceded by an act of supreme sacrifice on the part of Mary, the virgin, when she agreed to become pregnant even if she had no husband yet, and even if she was already engaged to be married by then to Joseph. What if Mary rejected the offer of Gabriel, the angel, to become the mother of Jesus?

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WHO IS LYING ON CUSTODY OF PEMBERTON? Just who exactly is telling the truth—or, conversely, who is lying—on the issue of who should have the custody of US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton while he is undergoing trial for the murder of Filipino transgender Jeffrey Laude? It is easy to see who, and the only thing we must do is to look into the provisions of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) right away.

Then, there would be no need for the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) of the Philippines to be expressing disappointment over the rejection by the US Embassy in Manila of the Philippine request for Pemberton’s custody, and thereby make it appear as if it is the obligation of the US to give up its right to hold Pemberton in its custody once a request is made for it to give up that right. 

Quite clearly, the DFA is being untruthful, to say the least, in expressing its supposed disappointment, since the VFA is distinctly clear anyway that it is the US which has the absolute right to the custody of Pemberton or any other member of the US Armed Forces who will get accused of a crime while they are in Philippine territory. 

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VFA: US HAS CUSTODY OF PEMBERTON: And so everyone will know, here is Art. V (6) of the VFA in its entirety: “The custody of any United States personnel over whom the Philippines is to exercise jurisdiction shall immediately reside with United States military authorities, if they so request, from the commission of the offense until completion of all judicial proceedings.

“United States military authorities shall, upon formal notification by the Philippine authorities and without delay, make such personnel available to those authorities in time for any investigative or judicial proceedings relating to the offense with which the person has been charged. 

“In extraordinary cases, the Philippine Government shall present its position to the United States Government regarding custody, which the United States Government shall take into full account. In the event Philippine judicial proceedings are not completed within one year, the United States shall be relieved of any obligations under this paragraph. 

“The one year period will not include the time necessary to appeal. Also, the one year period will not include any time during which scheduled trial procedures are delayed because United States authorities, after timely notification by Philippine authorities to arrange for the presence of the accused, fail to do so.”

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WHY DID WE AGREE ON US CUSTODY? The moral of the story is, it always pays to know the truth, for, as Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, said in John 8:31-32, the truth shall make us free. The way the VFA is worded tells us that the Filipinos who participated in its formulation for one reason or another decided on giving the US the right to take custody of its soldiers who will be accused of crimes. Maybe we can ask them why they did this, right?

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PLEASE LISTEN: “Tambalang Batas at Somintac”, jointly aired at DZEC, 1062 kHz in Manila, 1080 kHz in Dagupan City, 711 kHz in Naga City, 1260 kHz in Lucena City, 1224 kHz in Davao City, and at www.eaglebroadcasting.net, Mondays to Fridays, at 6 a.m.; “Kakampi Mo Ang Batas”, at 103.7 mHz in Don Carlos, Bukidnon, Mondays to Fridays, at 7 a.m.; “Kakampi Mo Ang Batas” at 801 kHz on the AM band (Panay Island), Mondays to Fridays, at 10 a.m.; and “Kakampi Mo Ang Batas” at 107.5 Win FM, Roxas, Isabela (Saturday, 5:30 a.m., and Sunday, 7 a.m.).   -30-




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