Laude's German BF, sister attempt entering Pemberton's detention facility
Camille Diola, Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - October 22, 2014 - 5:43pm

MANILA, Philippines — Tension gripped Camp Aguinaldo on Wednesday after a sister and the fiancé of slain transgender Jeffrey Laude tried to enter the facility where suspect United States (US) Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton is detained.

It started when Laude’s mother Julita, his sisters Marilou and Michelle, his German boyfriend Marc Suselbeck and their lawyers Harry Roque and Virgie Suarez arrived in Camp Aguinaldo at around 3:30 p.m.

They demanded entry to the Mutual Defense Board – Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB) facility, a restricted area where Pemberton is detained pending the preliminary investigation on his murder case. 

“I want to know why he (Pemberton) did it. Maybe they think they can do it to us because we are poor and they are rich,” an angry Julita told reporters.

“He should not hide there! He is good in killing people and yet he is hiding there,” he added.

The Laude family, Suselbeck, and their lawyers asked members of the military police to let them in, saying they only want to make sure that Pemberton is really in the container van.

The soldiers, however, refused, saying they are just following orders from their superiors.

Roque then confronted the soldiers by accusing them of favoring an American over their fellow Filipino. He also shouted at American servicemen who were seen guarding the container vans.

“Hey you what are you doing there? This is not your territory!” Roque said.

Seeing that the guards would not yield to her family’s demands, Marilou decided to climb over the fence to get into the facility.

Members of the military police remained calm as they asked her to get out of the restricted area. Laude’s mother, meanwhile, continued to yell at the soldiers.

“Pinaiikot lang nila tayo! (They are just making a fool out of us),” Julita said.

After a few minutes, Laude’s fiancé Suselbeck also climbed over the fence and even pushed one of the guards who tried to stop him.

At around 4 p.m., Armed Forces public affairs chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc arrived at the MDB-SEB facility to warn the Laude family that they are violating camp rules.

“If you insist on entering the facility, you can be jailed for trespassing,” Cabunoc told Marilou.

Roque, however, chided him, saying: “Who are you? Are you the spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the US?”

Minutes later, the camp commander, Brig. Gen. Arthur Ang arrived to ask members of the media to leave the area. He said journalists should secure permission before proceeding to restricted areas.

The tension subsided at around 5 p.m. after the Laude camp had agreed to meet with military officers.

Armed Forces spokesman Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan Jr. said the Laude camp was reminded to follow proper procedures when they want to see the suspect.

“Gen. Ang invited the family for a meeting and he explained the importance of coordination,” Tutaan said.

He could not say whether the military would carry out its warning to charge Marilou and Suselbeck of trespassing.

Tutaan, however, admitted that the Laude camp would not be able to see Pemberton for now as the case is still being deliberated by prosecutors.

Cabunoc warned that military camps are areas "restricted" to civilians and even military personnel not assigned there.

"Climbing our perimeter fence by civilians and even military personnel is not tolerable," he said.

"Anyone who asks permission to visit our camp in a respectful manner will be met with warm hospitality." he added.

Cabunoc earlier announced that Brig. Gen. Arthur Ang, camp commander, has authority to approve visitors to the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board facility where Pemberton was transferred on Wednesday morning.

Pemberton, who remains under the custody of the United States, was transported via airlift from the USS Peleliu docked at Subic Bay and held in a 20-foot container van with iron bars. Inside is a military type cot and an air-conditioning system.

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