Legarda: PHL Gov’t Must Ensure Justice for Jeffrey Laude

October 15, 2014

Senator Loren Legarda today said that the Philippine government must ensure that justice will be served in the killing of Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, allegedly by a US Marine, Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton.

“I call upon our law enforcers to exert all efforts towards ensuring that justice is served in connection with the violent death of Laude. The case should be pursued vigorously until the perpetrator of the crime is convicted and serves the full penalty,” Legarda said.

“We also expect the full cooperation of the US authorities in light of the reported involvement of a US serviceman in the crime,” she added.

Legarda, Vice Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, said that public fear of a whitewash is understandable, particularly because the suspect is not in Philippine custody.

She noted that the criminal jurisdiction provision of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) is a recurring issue and it is important that the matter is addressed immediately.

“While US military personnel continue to avail of the hospitality of our country, the iniquitous provision on criminal jurisdiction in the VFA remains in force,” Legarda said.

Under the VFA, the custody of any US personnel who committed a crime in the Philippines shall remain with US military authorities if they so request “from the commission of the offense until completion of all judicial proceedings.”