Philippine National Police had finally identified the US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton as the one who allegedly slayed Jeffrey Laude, a 26 year old transgender, also known as Jennifer, who was found dead in Olongapo City. The suspect is in the USS Peleliu while the investigation is still on process.
In a photo line up, the suspect had been identified by the witness Mark Clarence Gelviro, who himself is now also terrified for his safety.
While the investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Philippines, Visiting Forces Agreement does not state that they must also have the suspect in their custody. DOJ Usec. Jose Justiniano, voiced out that the American must be in the Philippine custody.
According to the investigation, Jennifer checked into the hotel at around 11pm after she had gone in a disco bar with the American in Olongapo City. After about 30 minutes, the suspect went out of the room and even left the door open. A cleaning service entered the room and found the transgender’s body in the bathroom, withe her head in the toilet.
Despite the controversy and protests, Malacanan is determined to continue the VFA and Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement to strengthen the Philippine miliary. The palace also clarified that there will be no ‘whitewash’ in the said investigation. Department of National Defense had also voiced out the EDCA must not be blamed for the crime.
The crime was said to have transpired when the Americans are having their break from Philippines-U.S. Amphibious Landing Exercise. US Pacific commander Admiral Samuel Locklear III had erlier been reportedly ordered that all US ships must remain docked in the Philippines until the investigation reach its conclusion, soon the ships were allowed to go except the USS Peleliu. Reference: gmanetwork