De Lima: Nothing wrong with P21-M offer to Laudes
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - March 26, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Justice Secretary Leila de Lima sees nothing wrong with the reported P21-million settlement offer to the family of slain transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude for a plea bargain deal in the murder case against US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton.

“We have to remember that in preliminary conference or pre-trial, plea bargaining is allowed – subject to agreement of parties,” she told reporters.

The camp of Pemberton has said the Laudes were the ones who wanted P21 million as settlement.

But De Lima said she would look into the complaint of the Laude family against Olongapo City Prosecutor Emilie delos Santos for their alleged exclusion from negotiations with Pemberton’s camp on the plea bargain deal.

She said she has directed the prosecutor to answer the protest filed by Laude’s mother Julita and sister Malou earlier this week.

“I’m asking City Prosecutor Delos Santos to submit a comment on that before I make a decision,” she revealed.

De Lima, however, stressed that it would not be easy to grant the request of the Laude family to replace Delos Santos, especially since she is “one of our best prosecutors.”

“She’s really tough and she knows that case by heart, so there should be compelling or cogent reason to replace her. I want to hear her side first on the allegations,” she explained.

The Laude family’s lawyer Harry Roque Jr. said it was Delos Santos who was pushing for the P21-million settlement with Pemberton’s camp without consulting with the victim’s family.

They also complained against the supposed refusal of Delos Santos to allow Roque to participate in case conferences.

BUT DE LIMA CITY PROSECUTOR DELOS SANTOS DE LIMA DELOS SANTOS HARRY ROQUE JR. JEFFREY JUSTICE SECRETARY LEILA MARINE LANCE CORPORAL JOSEPH SCOTT PEMBERTON OLONGAPO CITY PROSECUTOR EMILIE PEMBERTON
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