Transgender boy, 14, launches legal action against NHS over delays to gender reassignment treatment


Transgender boy, 14, launches legal action against NHS over delays to gender reassignment treatment after waiting more than a year for referral to clinic

  • The teenager is being assisted in his fight for action by The Good Law Project
  • It says the NHS has ‘legal obligation’ to provide specialist care within 18 weeks
  • But the average waiting time for a first appointment is 18 months, group says
  • NHS England insists an independent review into the service is already underway 

A transgender teenage boy is launching legal against against NHS England over delays to gender reassignment treatment, having waited more than a year for a referral to the specialist clinic.

The 14-year-old is being assisted in his fight by The Good Law Project, which says the NHS has ‘a legal obligation’ to provide specialist care, or an alternative, within 18 weeks.

However, the average waiting time for a first appointment with the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) is 18 months, the organisation says, with some even waiting up to four years.

This is not even to actually get what the NHS describes as fully reversible puberty blockers, but just to begin the process of being assessed for eligibility.

Some 10,000 more young people have been referred to the already over-subscribed GIDS, according to figures obtained by the BBC.

NHS England says an independent review into the service run by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust has been launched, and insists any legal action ‘will only cost taxpayers’ money and not help the actions already under way’.

Joylon Maugham is founder of The Good Law Project which is assisting the teenager in the legal fight

The Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) is based at The Tavistock Centre in London

The Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) is based at The Tavistock Centre in London

Reece, who came out to friends and family in primary school, told the BBC he would not want to bring such action ideally, but felt he didn’t have a choice as ‘nobody else is sticking up for trans young people’.

He added: ‘I know more than 30 trans people, from school and LGBT groups. Everybody’s been waiting for months, or even years, but nobody’s been able to get in yet.

‘It’s scary because it shows the service isn’t available to the people who need it.’

Jolyon Maugham, barrister and founder of The Good Law Project, said: ‘Children are losing the opportunity to be seen within a window in which they can secure effective treatment. 

‘They are, in practice, being denied access to treatments which are correlated with improved mental health and reduced suicide risk.’ 

An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘There has been more than a 500% rise in the number of children and young people being referred to the Tavistock’s gender identity service since 2013 as more people come forward for support and treatment.

‘The NHS has already asked Dr Hilary Cass to carry out an independent review including how and when children and young people are referred to specialist services, so legal action against the NHS will only cost taxpayers’ money and not help the actions already under way.’

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Russia Pulls ‘Transgender Ban’ Bill


A group of conservative lawmakers has pulled for consolidation two overlapping child custody bills, one of which would have also banned transgender people from legally changing their gender, Russian media reported Monday.

Lawyers, activists and President Vladimir Putin’s human rights council have criticized the transgender ban bill, co-authored by Senator Yelena Mizulina, who also spearheaded Russia’s notorious 2013 law banning “gay propaganda.” If passed, the bill would have simultaneously banned same-sex marriage and adoption, as well as barred transgender people from legally changing their gender.

Like Mizulina’s legislation, the second bill authored by two other senators — and also introduced this summer — would require a court order to seize children from homes that pose a threat to their life or health. 

“Both bills are being withdrawn in order to find a version that all interested parties will accept, if possible,” Senator Andrei Klishas, who co-authored the second bill, told Interfax.

“I’m confident we’ll find this common path, taking into account a large number of proposals,” Senator Alexander Bashkin, a co-author of Mizulina’s bill, told the RBC news website. “We won’t have discrepancies, contradictions and disagreements.”

Klishas noted that both pieces of proposed legislation “caused a lot of controversy and discord among the public.” 

Interfax reported earlier Monday that the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, which holds a supermajority in the State Duma, has recommended that Klishas’ bill be pulled from the floor debate this week.

According to the Znak.com news website, this recommendation followed “a barrage of criticism from radical Orthodox [Christian] activists” on social media, including from bot accounts. The outlet cited unnamed sources as speculating that Mizulina may have been behind the online attacks on the rival bill.

Mizulina’s bill, according to previous reporting, has received disapproval from the cabinet and the Duma’s committee overseeing legislation, in addition to Putin’s human rights council.



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Russian Cabinet rejects bill outlining changes to the Family Code impacting children’s and transgender rights




Russia’s Government Commission on Legislative Activities has rejected conservative Senator Elena Mizulina’s draft law “aimed at strengthening the institution of the family.” The commission believes that the changes outlined in the bill would tip the balance “towards the rights of parents” at the expense of children’s rights. A draft of the cabinet’s decision was obtained by TASS on Tuesday, October 20.



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Transgender reform debate heats up Tasmanian Liberal conference


Tasmanian Liberal party positivity has been tempered by heated debate over the future of Tasmania’s controversial transgender reforms.

The annual Liberal Party state council on Saturday had a largely congratulatory feel as members reflected on a highly unusual year.

But the temperature rose when Tasmania’s Liberal Party faithful determined the state’s landmark transgender reforms, which passed State Parliament with the support of Liberal Speaker Sue Hickey last year, should be repealed.

A motion to repeal the changes, which make gender optional on birth certificates and remove a requirement for transgender people to have sex reassignment surgery before they can legally change their gender, was moved at the party’s annual State Council meeting at Bellerive on Saturday.

The motion was put forward by a member of the Lower Sandy Bay Branch, who said she was aware Ms Hickey would always vote with her heart, and that while she admired that, “empathy does not make good policy”.

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Ms Hickey defended the legislation, telling the gathering of Liberal Party faithful that it had been “thoroughly scrutinised” by both houses of Parliament and had not caused any unintended consequences.

“You would not choose to be transgender, let me tell you. That is a horrible existence,” she said.

“It is time to recognise these people.”

Members yelled across the room for Ms Hickey to “sit down” when she rose to clarify that a master list of gender data is still kept behind the scenes.

Tasmania’s Law Reform Institute confirmed there were no significant unintended consequences earlier this year.

The motion was carried but it is not binding on the Government.

Liberal Sue Hickey joined transgender reform supporters outside Parliament after the passing of the sex reassignment provisions in 2019.(ABC News: Alexandra Humphries)

Prime Minister applauds battered aged care minister

Prime Minister Scott Morrison attended the meeting and told party faithful that animals on Australia’s coat of arms — a kangaroo and an emu — cannot walk backwards, and that’s what the pandemic recovery plan was all about.

“We don’t go back, we always go forward,” he said.

Mr Morrison praised Premier Peter Gutwein, who took over from long-serving premier Will Hodgman just nine months ago, for his “judgement and wisdom.”

He also praised the Minister for Aged Care, senator Richard Colbeck, who had faced calls for his resignation over coronavirus deaths in federally regulated care homes, for the “amazing work you’ve done in a tough year in a tough portfolio”.

Other than the hand sanitiser at the entrance, and the clear directions to use the tongs to grab the sandwiches, the Liberals’ State Council looked largely similar to previous years.

It was not only the transgender reforms that generated debate.

Other items on the agenda included; whether it should be an offence for parents and guardians to take children under 12 to protests (lost), whether the state’s Local Government code of conduct should be reformed (carried), and whether students that are falling behind should be screened for learning disabilities such as dyslexia (carried).

New executive for next elections

Well-connected former state mining minister Adam Brooks confirmed his status in the party by being appointed Treasurer.

This year, attention has clearly turned to electoral battles at both state and federal levels in 2022.

Mr Morrison did not miss the chance to point out that he would be back in Tasmania soon, in the seat of Lyons where the party has high hopes of adding a new member to its federal team.

And the tussle for senior vice-president of the Liberal executive highlighted the behind-the-scenes jostling over who would win the coveted spot at the top of the ticket between the three sitting senators Eric Abetz, Jonathon Duniam and Wendy Askew when they face voters next time around.

The senior vice-president will have a hand in deciding when preselection occurs, and who is preselected.

Sitting vice-president Peter McKay put his hand up to keep the job, but was challenged by Clark electorate chairman Ross Copping, whose nomination was viewed by several senior party sources as supported by the office of veteran senator Mr Abetz.

Mr McKay held on in the end, but what that ultimately means for the senate race in two years’ time remains to be seen.



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Delaware elects first transgender U.S. state senator


DOVER, DEL. —
U.S. Democrat Sarah McBride won a state Senate race on Tuesday in Delaware, and would become the first openly transgender state senator in the U.S. when sworn in.

McBride defeated Republican Steve Washington to win the seat that became open following the retirement of the longest-serving legislator in Delaware history.

She won in a heavily Democratic district stretching from northern Wilmington to the Pennsylvania border, and joins several other transgender legislators around the country but will be the first transgender state senator.

“I think tonight’s results demonstrate what I’ve known my entire life, which is that the residents of this district are fair-minded, and they’re looking at candidates’ ideas and not their identity,” McBride said Tuesday night. “It is my hope that a young LGBTQ kid here in Delaware or really anywhere in this country can look at the results and know that our democracy is big enough for them, too.”

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McBride interned at the White House under former President Barack Obama and made history at the 2016 Democratic National Convention as the first openly transgender person to speak at a major party convention.

She succeeds fellow Democrat Harris McDowell, who had held the Senate seat since 1976 and endorsed McBride’s candidacy.

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McBride’s campaign generated interest and money from around the country, generating more than $270,000 in donations as of early October, eclipsing fundraising totals even for candidates for statewide office in Delaware.

A former student body president at American University, McBride started in politics as a volunteer for Matt Denn, former legal counsel to Delaware’s governor, during his successful 2004 campaign for insurance commissioner. Denn, who later served as lieutenant governor and attorney general, worked with McBride’s father at a Wilmington law firm known for its close ties to the Democratic Party establishment.

McBride later worked on the campaigns of former Gov. Jack Markell and former state Attorney General Beau Biden.

McBride is one of several members of the LGBTQ community who were elected to the state legislature on Tuesday.

Social worker and political newcomer Marie Pinkney also was elected to the state Senate after knocking off the Senate president pro tem, who was first elected to the General Assembly in 1978, in a September Democratic primary. Pinkney identifies as queer and is the first openly queer woman elected to the legislature.

Similarly, Democrat Eric Morrison became the first openly gay man elected to the General Assembly on Tuesday after defeating an incumbent House member in the September primary.



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Equality groups criticise Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas over comments on transgender people


Equality groups have branded comments the Perth Lord Mayor made about transgender people on breakfast radio “repugnant and bigoted”.

Basil Zempilas, who was elected to office earlier this month, told listeners of the breakfast show he co-hosts on 6PR it was “wrong” for someone to identify as a different gender to their physical anatomy.

“If you’ve got a penis mate, you’re a bloke,” he said.

“If you’ve got a vagina, you’re a woman. Game over.”

Mr Zempilas then laughed off a suggestion by co-host Steve Mills that he would likely come into contact with transgender people in his role as Lord Mayor.

Basil Zempilas campaigned to be Perth Lord Mayor on a platform of tackling homelessness, begging and loitering in the CBD.(ABC News: Gian De Poloni)

Mr Zempilas also called for any women with a penis to ring the radio station for the chance to win a $100 store voucher.

When Mr Mills suggested that people in the wider community may disagree with his stance, Mr Zempilas replied: “Well mate, if you want to go softy, lefty, namby-pamby.”

The pair had been discussing an LGBTIQ boxing tournament in Sydney, which led to a debate about parents who did not identify their children as male or female.

‘Misinformed, hurtful, damaging’

TransFolk WA chair Hunter Gurevich said Mr Zempilas’s comments were harmful to transgender people.

“These comments are repugnant, bigoted, narrow minded, parochial and fundamentally deny contemporary science,” they said.

“Further, it puts LGBTQIA+ people at increased risk of harm, when we are already a vulnerable group in society.”

Mr Gurevich suggested Mr Zempilas undertake transgender awareness training.

Basil Zempilas wearing a suit and his wife Amy wearing a white and blue dress hold hands and smile.
Basil Zempilas and his wife Amy on the night of his election as Perth Lord Mayor.(ABC News: Jessica Warriner)

Pride WA president Curtis Ward said the comments were misinformed, hurtful and damaging.

Mr Ward said sex and gender were two different things.

“It is possible to appear one way and feel another and when someone says they’re transgender, they are simply saying they feel differently to how they appear,” Mr Ward said.

“[That is] sex being your physical appearance and your biology whereas gender is how you identify psychologically, whether you’re feminine or masculine.”

Mr Ward said comments such as Mr Zempilas’s fuelled stigma around the transgender community, describing mental health issues among transgender people as “rampant”.

“I think people need to be educating themselves about what they’re speaking about and if they do have that stage, and they are commanding such a large audience, they should be making educated statements,” he said.

Zempilas says he will apologise if he caused offence

The ABC has contacted Mr Zempilas for comment.

However, Mr Zempilas told local publication Out in Perth he would apologise if anyone was offended as that was not his intention.

In accepting the Lord Mayor role, Mr Zempilas said he would resign from his top-rating 6PR radio show duties later this year.

He said he would remain a sports presenter for Seven West Media and continue to write a weekly column for the West Australian newspaper, which is also owned by Seven West Media.

That column was also the source of backlash from human rights groups, after Mr Zempilas wrote about how he would “forcibly remove” homeless people from the Perth’s streets, calling them a “blight” on the city.

He later apologised for the comments.

The City of Perth, a longstanding sponsor of Perth’s annual Pride parade, declined to comment.



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Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas under fire over ‘repugnant, bigoted’ transgender comments


“No, you don’t. No. Wrong. If you’ve got a penis mate, you are a bloke. If you’ve got a vagina you are a woman. Game over,” Mr Zempilas replied.

Mr Zempilas then offered transgender radio listeners a $100 Retrovision voucher if they called in to share their thoughts.

“If you’re listening to us this morning, if you have a penis but you are a woman, call us now. We’ve got a $100 Retrovision voucher to give away.”

When asked by Mills how he planned to handle meeting transgender City of Perth electors, Mr Zempilas replied “handle the penis?” before later adding there “is more redheads listening to 6PR than there is hermaphrodites”.

TransFolk of WA chair Hunter Gurevich said the advocacy group, which represents the interests of transgender people, would not be accepting an apology from Mr Zempilas until he “confronted the damage his comments can and have done”.

“Obviously these comments are repugnant, bigoted, narrow-minded, parochial and fundamentally deny contemporary science,” he said.

“Further, it puts LGBTQIA+ people at increased risk of harm, when we are already a vulnerable group in society. It is especially disappointing when the City of Perth has long supported the LGBTQIA+ community of Perth. For Mr Zempilas to now betray not only the community, but our relationship with the City, is beyond inexcusable.

“We strongly recommend trans awareness training for the City of Perth before Mr Zempilas even considers attending Pride.”

Pride WA president and festival organiser Curtis Ward said it was concerning to see influential individuals with an audience make “hurtful and damaging comments so flippantly”.

“It is always disappointing when individuals express views and form firm opinions without first fully educating themselves on the issues,” he said.

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“Mental health issues are rampant in our trans community because of these types of misinformed comments. In this day and age, we should be aware that life is not black and white.

“We should be embracing diversity and supporting each other. And Perth, seeking its place in the world as a modern, progressive cosmopolitan city, should be leading the way in doing so.”

Mr Ward encouraged people to come down to PrideFest between November 14 and 28 to “get educated” and “witness firsthand the wonderfully diverse community we have”.

The festival, which includes a parade through the city’s major streets, has been sponsored by the City of Perth for more than two decades.

Speaking to Perth LGBTQ news site OUTinPerth, Mr Zempilas apologised for the comments saying “if anyone was offended that was not our intention”.

Mr Zempilas has been contacted for comment.

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Facebook bans conservative election ad attacking transgender girls in sport


A conservative political action committee has slammed an “absurd” decision by Facebook to ban an election ad that attacked transgender girls participating in school sports.

The ad from the American Principles Project takes aim at incumbent Michigan Democratic Senator Gary Peters and presidential nominee Joe Biden over their support for the Equality Act, a wide-ranging LGBTQ rights bill.

Republicans have focused on the fact that the bill would allow transgender students to compete on school sports teams based on their gender identity.

The controversial issue is currently the subject of several court battles in the US.

“All female athletes want is a fair shot at competition, at a scholarship, at a title, at victory,” the ad’s voiceover says.

“But what if that shot was taken away by a competitor who claims to be a girl but was born a boy? Senator Gary Peters and Joe Biden support legislation that would destroy girls’ sports. They call it equality. Really? That’s not fair. Not fair at all. Vote against Gary Peters and Joe Biden. They are too extreme for Michigan.”

According to the APP, which is spending $US4 million ($5.5 million) on the campaign, Facebook initially applied a “missing context” warning label before blocking the ad outright.

“Full-on censorship,” the group tweeted on Tuesday.

The notice from Facebook warned viewers that “independent fact-checkers at PolitiFact” had found information in the post “is missing context and could mislead people”.

In her article, PolitiFact’s Clara Hendrickson wrote, “Their specific criticism is that allowing transgender girls and women to compete on the basis of their gender identity would create an uneven playing field for student (athletes) and ultimately end girls’ and women’s sports. That’s a prediction we can’t fact-check.”

But Hendrickson argued that supporters of the bill “dismiss” the argument that transgender girls “have physical competitive advantages over girls and women born female”.

“There may be individual success by particular trans athletes just as there are with any athletes,” Neena Chaudhry from the National Women’s Law Center told the website.

Ms Chaudhry noted some transgender girls and women had won competitions while others had performed worse, and in any case, “women’s sports hasn’t ended”.

The APP said it was considering appealing the decision.

“Today, Facebook caved to a pressure campaign by far-left activists, effectively censoring our effort to inform voters about Democrat threats to women‘s athletics,” APP executive director Terry Schilling said in a statement.

Mr Schilling said there was “ample evidence” for the claim that the policies in question “would destroy girls’ sports” and “nothing in the PolitiFact review shows this claim to be false”.

“Yet Facebook has nevertheless decided to declare that our ad might ‘mislead people’ because it is ‘missing context’,” he said.

“Apparently they believe the ad will only be fair if we also include the leftist ‘arguments’ against us. Do we now need pre-approval from Democrats before we run ads critical of their policies? This is an absurd standard – one which Facebook obviously doesn’t hold the other side to.”

Facebook spokesman Andy Stone replied, “This content was reviewed by PolitiFact, an independent, third-party fact-checking partner of Facebook’s. If you’d like to dispute the rating, we’d encourage you to do so directly with them.”

frank.chung@news.com.au



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U.S. Marine deported from the Philippines following Presidential pardon for the killing of transgender woman


Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton had served roughly six years of a 10-year sentence for homicide when Duterte’s decision to pardon him was announced by Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. on Monday.

The U.S. Marine had been found guilty of killing 26-year-old Jennifer Laude in a motel room in October 2014, while he was in the Philippines for military exercises.

As a result of the President’s action, Pemberton boarded a military plane bound for the U.S. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport shortly after 9 a.m. local time on Sunday morning, the Philippines Bureau of Immigration said in a statement seen by CNN.

Pemberton was deported because “the Bureau saw he was a risk to public safety,” the statement added.

Commissioner Jaime Morente of the Bureau of Immigration said that because of his deportation order Pemberton was “perpetually” banned from returning to the country.

The move to release Pemberton early was met with protest and criticism this week, with Edre Olalia, the president of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, describing the pardon as “unbelievable.”

The controversial decision came a week after a court said Pemberton should be given credit for good conduct during his time at Camp Aguinaldo military prison in Quezon City.

However, critics claimed it was easy for him to behave well as he did not serve his sentence with the general prison population.

Pemberton, who was aged 19 at the time of his conviction, told police that he had choked Laude in anger when he found out that she had male genitalia.

The naked body of Laude was discovered with her head in the toilet in an Olongapo hotel room on October 12, 2014.



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Jennifer Laude: US Marine pardoned by Philippines for killing of transgender woman


Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton has served about six years of the 10-year sentence he was given in 2015 for killing Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old transgender woman, in a motel room in 2014.

It came after a court last week said Pemberton should be given credit for good conduct during his time served in the Camp Aguinaldo military prison in Quezon City, rather than New Bilibid Prison, the country’s main penitentiary, according to a CNN Philippines report.

That credit amounted to more than four years, the court said, and with time served after his arrest but before trial, Pemberton had served the 10 years required. Critics said it was easy for Pemberton to be on good behavior because he was able to serve his sentence alone rather than with the general prison population.

“Cutting matters short over what constitutes time served, and since where he was detained was not in the prisoner’s control — and to do justice — the President has granted an absolute pardon to Pemberton,” Locsin said in a Twitter post.

Pemberton’s lawyer, Rowena Flores, said Duterte’s decision was not something her client sought and that she first learned of it from the media.

“I thank our President for his pardon. I think with this development, justice is served and that the laws were followed,” she told CNN Philippines.

Duterte, speaking in his weekly address on Monday, said no records were kept on Pemberton’s behavior in the military prison so he should be assumed to have acted properly.

“You have not treated Pemberton fairly, ” Duterte said, according to PNA. “We should allow him the good character presumption.”

Pemberton was 19 at the time of his conviction. He was convicted of the lesser charge of homicide, rather than murder, after the court determined that Pemberton had not acted with “treachery.”

The naked body of Laude was found with her head in a toilet in an Olongapo hotel room shortly after midnight on October 12, 2014, police said after his arrest.

Witnesses told police that Pemberton was with Laude at a local disco before the two checked into a hotel on the night of October 11, according to documents seen by CNN.

Pemberton told police that he’d choked Laude, but then tried to revive her. He said he had become angry with Laude upon discovering she had male genitalia, according to police.

Pemberton, from Massachusetts, was an anti-tank missileman assigned to 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

He was in the Philippines for military exercises being conducted under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). Signed in 1988, it gives US military aircraft and vessels free entry into the Philippines and relaxes visa restrictions for US military personnel. But it gives the Philippines primary jurisdiction over US military personnel accused of crimes in the country, unless those crimes involve other US troops.

The Philippines was once home to two of America’s largest military bases outside of the US: Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Station.

Although those ceased to be US bases in the early 1990s, US forces still had access to them under the VFA. The hotel where Laude was killed was outside Subic Bay. Pemberton was on leave after participating in the military exercises.

Sen. Imee Marcos said the pardon served justice under Philippine law while helping relations between Manila and Washington.

“Justice has been served with the Philippine judicial system functioning in accordance with its constitutional duties,” she said, according to CNN Philippines, while preserving “very deep and very cordial” relations with the US.

CNN has reached out to the US Embassy in Manila for comment.

Demonstrators hold placards during a protest in front of the Department of National Defense in Manila on February 21, 2020. Members of the Gabriela Alliance for Women called for the immediate transfer of of US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton to the National Bilibid Prison.

Relations had been strained in February when Duterte gave the US 180 days’ notice to end the VFA, suggesting that Manila needed to rely on its own resources for its defense.

He reversed that decision in June “in light of the political and other developments in the region,” Locsin said in a social media post at the time. The reversal came as China was stepping up its military presence on islands in the South China Sea that are claimed by the Philippines.

On July 12, the Philippines for the first time formally recognized a 2016 ruling by the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration siding with Manila and against Beijing over China’s claims on contested islands in the South China Sea.

Two days later, Washington announced a formal rejection of “most” of China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea.

Critics of Pemberton’s pardon on Monday blamed the Philippine government for putting military relations above the rights of Philippine citizens.

Edre Olalia, president of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, called the pardon “unbelievable.”

“What makes it even more atrocious is that his entitlements and liberty were apparently politically bartered through an onerous and servile military agreement. What cheap price sovereignty and national dignity,” he said in a statement, according to CNN Philippines.

Pemberton’s lawyer said he would still need to comply with certain legal requirements before he could leave the country, but she was hopeful that would happen before the end of the week, CNN Philippines reported.



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