Laude lawyer releases crime scene photos
Reinir Padua (The Philippine Star) - October 29, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The counsel of slain transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude yesterday released photos of the crime scene showing the victim’s body in the bathroom of a motel in Olongapo City on Oct. 11.

Harry Roque, lawyer for the family of Laude, showed the photos in his bid to gain public sympathy for the case.

It was also the first time that the victim’s mother Julita saw the photos, prompting her to break down in the middle of a gathering at the UP College of Law, where she and their lawyers spoke about the murder of her son.

Laude accused President Aquino of playing deaf.

“It was brutal. My child suffered from such brutality. Why is it the President is turning a deaf ear on our case?” she asked.

Mrs. Laude said President Aquino is not acting on the case by not allowing the suspect US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton to be placed under custody of Philippine authorities.

Roque, on the other hand, said they decided to withhold the photos, wanting to preserve the memory of the slain transgender.

But the Laude family decided to release the pictures before the public to gain support for the case.

“The pictures will explain why the family did what they did,” Roque said.

Roque said the family had become emotional upon learning Pemberton was brought and detained at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

Laude’s sister and the victim’s German boyfriend Marc Suselbeck climbed over the fence in a bid to confront the American serviceman.

“It’s high time the Filipino people understand the family’s and Suselbeck’s sense of anger,” Roque said.

The military said they would move to have Suselbeck deported for “undesirable act” of entering a military camp without authorization and shoving a soldier on duty.

Pemberton is detained at the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB) facility inside the main military headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo.

Roque said they would file a petition before the Supreme Court to demand Philippine custody over Pemberton.

According to Roque, he has been in talks with international groups to discuss the possibility of holding the US “liable for according immunity to Pemberton.”

Roque said it was not enough that the Philippine government failed to exercise jurisdiction over the American soldier because of the Visiting Forces Agreement, the tables have also been turned on the family and Suselbeck for their actions at the military camp.

The Laude family had written Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang to allow them to see Pemberton in detention.

Roque said there has been no response yet from the military.

He said the VFA had been used to shield Pemberton from criminal proceedings, saying the suspect’s fingerprints had not even been taken.

“How can we even go to court without the fingerprints?” he asked. “Pemberton should also be declared an undesirable alien.”

Roque added they would ask the government to declare Pemberton an undesirable alien, just like it is doing to Suselbeck.

“We will demand that the BI (Bureau of Immigration) subject Pemberton to the same humiliation that Marc experienced,” he said.

Roque said Suselbeck would file for voluntary deportation but insisted that barring him from entering the country was an extreme punishment.

He said the German acknowledged what he did was “disrespectful” but pointed out he is not a suspect in any crime, unlike Pemberton.

Former UP College of Law dean Merlin Magallona called the Laude murder case a “victimization of national sovereignty.”

“It’s not an abstract concept. In this incident, in everyone of us, there is something that died,” Magallona said.

ARMED FORCES BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION BUT THE LAUDE CAMP AGUINALDO COLLEGE OF LAW LAUDE PEMBERTON PRESIDENT AQUINO ROQUE SUSELBECK
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