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Gabriela: Laude's case best argument vs EDCA, VFA

Dennis Carcamo (The Philippine Star) - November 18, 2014 - 3:51pm

MANILA, Philippines - The killing of transgender Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude is the best argument against the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and the Visiting Forces of Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States (US) government, Gabriela women's rights group said on Tuesday.

Members of the group picketed at the Supreme Court building in Manila as the justices met en banc for Tuesday's oral arguments on the EDCA.

"Jennifer Laude is the best argument against EDCA," Gabriela Vice Chair Gert Ranjo-Libang said. 

Laude was a transgender woman allegedly killed by US Marine PFC Joseph Scott Pemberton in Olongapo City last October 11 during the USS Peleliu's "liberty time." She was strangled and found dead inside a toilet in a motel.

Ranjo-Libang cited that even before Laude, "Nicole" and "Vanessa" also became victims of violence by US military personnel. 

"There are other victims who have not been able to find strength to voice out their experiences of VAW (violence against women) perpetrated by US troops, not just in the Philippines but in other countries as well. All of them are proof that anywhere the US troops are present, cases of violence against women are not far behind," she added. 

She added that their group has also been receiving complaints from women who have been abandoned by US personnel after bearing their children.

She said that EDCA will extend the effects of the VFA to more areas of the country and will be more akin to military basing especially since storage of war materiel will be allowed. 

"Worse, the same unfair provisions that we now encounter with Jennifer's case, like criminal jurisdiction and custody, will also apply," she said. 

Earlier, members of the Laude family, through their lawyers, asked the Supreme Court to allow it to join the petition against the EDCA and VFA. 

ENHANCED DEFENSE COOPERATION AGREEMENT GABRIELA GABRIELA VICE CHAIR GERT RANJO-LIBANG JENNIFER JENNIFER LAUDE JOSEPH SCOTT PEMBERTON OLONGAPO CITY PHILIPPINES AND THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT VISITING FORCES OF AGREEMENT
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