NCIS: Olongapo City

 photo Jennifer_Laude_t250_zpsb56ca96d.jpgClosed Circuit TV cameras show  PFC Joseph Scott Pemberton, 19, and three other  Marines  were drunk when they entered a Ambyanz Disco in Olongapo City around 11pm  on Saturday, October 11.  They show Pemberton leaving the bar a few minutes later with Jennifer Laude and three friends.  Pemberton is seen holding hands with Jennifer’s friend Barbie as they left Ambyanz for Celzone Lodge.

At around 11:35 Pemberton’s buddies were seen returning to the bar, looking for him.  They asked the bar employees if they might know where he was.  They had midnight curfew and had to get back to the ship.

One witness identified Pemberton from a photo line-up by Philippine National Police.  That witness also identified the 26-year-old Barbie as a witness of interest.  Both witnesses have asked for government protection.  Barbie also identified Pemberton.

Barbie has told investigators that she was sent away by Jennifer, who sensed there might be danger because they were transgender, so she and another friend went to another room in the lodge.  Barbie said that a room attendant (Elias Gallamos) knocked on their door around 11:45 to tell them that Pemberton had left, leaving the door ajar and Jennifer “passed out” in the bathroom of her room.

Jennifer was, in fact, dead.  She had been strangled and drowned in the toilet.  Autopsy listed the cause of death as asphyxiation by drowning.

My child is traumatised, could not sleep nor eat. I am afraid for my child.

–Barbie’s mother

How much more can you degrade a person than to drown them in a toilet bowl?

Pemberton and his three buddies have been taken in custody aboard the USS Peleliu at Subic Bay. The Peleliu had participated in joint exercises and had been expected to leave for San Diego on Tuesday, but a gold has been placed to the departure of US ships pending completion of the investigation.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has prepared a subpoena to serve on Pemberton.  de Lima has sought to assure the public that she is “closely monitoring developments in the case.

Five marines were summoned to appear before a prosecutor next week.

The Department of Foreign Affairs … today served the subpoena and complaint against Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton for the murder of Jeffrey Laude also known as Jennifer,” a ministry statement said. Four other US Marines who were not identified by the statement were summoned by the prosecutor on the same date “as witnesses for the case”

Prosecutor Fe de los Santos said the hearing will be on Tuesday.  The US Embassy has withheld comment on the summons.

Philippine authorities are being hampered by the Visiting Forces Agreement.

University of the Philippines Professor Roland Simbulan says it is going to be very hard to win the court battle if we don’t have the custody of the perpetrator.

At a forum entitled Gender-based Violence and the Visiting Forces Agreement, Simbulan declared that the Philippines has the legal right to take custody of Pemberton since the crime was committed in Philippines jurisdiction and was not committed while Pemberton was on official duty.

If there’s no custody, it’s going to be a basket case. The government has to assert its power to take custody of the perpetrator. If not, this going to be tough one.

it is going to be very hard to win the court battle if we don’t have the custody of the perpetrator.

–Simbulan

The VFA prohibits Philippine authorities from boarding the Peleliu.

It is up to us, our government, to use all its power, to assert. This is our territory, this government is ours. What’s the use of the government if it cannot assert the rights of our own citizens?

–Simbulan

The Philippine government has been historically subservient to United States military forces.

Jennifer Laude’s German fiancé speaks out about murder of the transgender Filipina by American Marine.

The purpose of Tueday’s hearing is to evaluate the evidence.  The Philippine prosecutor can then either file criminal charges or dismiss the complaint.  Pemberton could face life in prison for what has been labeled a hate crime.

The US embassy and the Philippine foreign department building were hit by regular street protests this week, all demanding that the US hand over the suspect to Manila so he could be detained in a Filipino prison.

The Makabayan bloc has filed House Resolution no. 17, which would terminate the VFA.

Joint resolution no. 17 called for “immediately abrogating” the 15-year-old VFA and urged Pres. Aquino “to send a notice of termination” to the US government.  It was filed by Bayan Muna Reps. Neri Javier Colmenares, Carlos Isagani Zarate, Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap, ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio and Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon.

It is a big slap on the face of the Filipino nation and downright revolting that the government failed to arrest and take custody of the suspected assailant Pemberton and the US authority and custody prevailed over the American suspect of killing a Filipino on Philippine soil,” the resolution said.

the LGBT group Kapederasyon has issued a statement:

We are deeply disturbed with the negative comments online reeking with hate, homophobia, and transphobia. Many posts blame Jennifer for her own murder and even condone hate crimes.

[T]hese outbursts of discrimination shows how hostile some sections of the Philippine society can be towards people with different gender.

We ask everyone to be sensitive and careful about what they post online. Instead of adding insult to the already grave injury by posting hate-filled comments, we urge them to use their time online to expand their understanding on the issue.

The case of Jennifer and what we’re seeing online tell us that there is clearly more work to be done. And we plan to face this head on. We will double our efforts in educating the people on the issue of human rights, gender expression and identity.

–Kapederasyon, spokesperson Corky Hope Marañan

Marañan also addressed the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ statement that “cause oriented groups were overreacting to the Laude case.

We ask the AFP, how does one react to murder? How should a Filipino react if one of his own sister is brutally murdered by a foreign soldier?

It is a shame how they could just easily accept a simple apology in exchange for the life of their own countrymen.  It is a shame how they could act as apologists for the murderer of their own sister. Instead of making apologies, they should move to arrest the perpetrator and defend the Filipino people.

Murder is murder. No excuse can be made to justify the taking of a life of a person. We have a Filipino that’s been murdered. We should unite as Filipinos in seeking justice.

The Aquino government has to accept that VFA, EDCA and the entire range of US-PH relations are associated with this crime. The Palace’s subservience to VFA and wanton surrender of criminal jurisdiction for custody of suspect Joseph Pemberton to the US is actually the primary hindrance to the pace of the judicial process.

The mere fact that Aquino tries to dismiss arguments exposing the one-sidedness of VFA and EDCA indicates his denial of justice for Jennifer.

The LGBT sector and women are experiencing raging hate and discrimination today.  However, besides their gender, many people around the world confront oppression because of their religion, race, and class.

This global situation is very much reflective to Jenny’s death, a hate crime and act of gender-based violence which transpired because of US military interventionism.

It’s sickening to see the Aquino government exerting huge efforts in saving its relationship with the US in the midst of a death of our kababayan.  It would’ve been easy for them to extend their resources in helping the family attain justice, yet they continue to bow down to the US instead.

Charlotte Velasco, League of Filipino Students

Referring to Jennifer’s German fiancé, Mark Susselback, and his statement:

He was right. This government treats their people as if their lives are dispensable, as if our lives are less important than their slave-like relationship with the US.

1 comment

    • Robyn on October 18, 2014 at 12:14 am
      Author

    …the US/Filipino military relationship will be endangered by the killing of a transgender woman?

    Uh…no.

Comments have been disabled.