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U.S. MARINE SUSPECT IN TRANSGENDER SLAY MOVED TO CAMP AGUINALDO

US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton (photo), the suspect in the killing of transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude in Olongapo City, arrived Wednesday morning at Camp Aguinaldo. Pemberton was airlifted to the army headquarters from Olongapo City onboard a helicopter and arrived at the camp at around 8:45 a.m. “The US government is sensitive to our feelings that this unfortunate incident happened, they want to show that they believe in our justice system,” said AFP Chief of Staff Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. in a press conference.
Catapang and Visiting Forces Agreement Commission head Eduardo Oban Jr. were present when Pemberton arrived. Catapang said it was agreed with the US Armed Forces that Pemberton would be temporarily detained inside the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board compound while the preliminary investigation into the Laude slay case was ongoing.

Catapang clarified that Pemberton would be under joint custody between the United States and the Philippine government. Catapang said Pemberton’s meals would be courtesy of the US. The military chief said that Pemberton would be detained in an airconditioned 20-foot container van with a military cot and own comfort room. Pemberton will be guarded by two US Marines and four Filipino soldiers. One American soldier will guard Pemberton inside the container van while another will stand outside the temporary cell. Outside are four members of the Military Police of the AFP that will serve as perimeter watch. Before he was transferred to Camp Aguinaldo, Pemberton was held onboard the USS Peleliu docked at Subic Bay, Olongapo City.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

Confusion mars Pemberton custody; US serviceman getting special negative treatment – Aquino  

OCT 23 --PHOTO: WHERE IS PEMBERTON? Jeffrey Laude’s eldest sibling, Marilou (left photo), climbs the wire fence of Camp Aguinaldo in a bid to make sure US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, the suspect in the killing of her brother, is held inside the military facility. Laude’s German fiancé Marc Sueselbeck is shown helping Marilou. Right, Pemberton, in handcuffs, is being escorted to a detention facility inside the camp. Top, right, Mark Clarence ‘Barbie’ Gelviro, a witness in the Laude slay; the victim’s sister Michelle; and Elias Galamos, the cashier of the Olongapo lodge, appear before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations yesterday. (Linus Guardian Escandor II, Tony Pionilla, and AP) Who has legal custody of US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, the suspect in the killing of Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude? The question cropped up yesterday as the Philippines and United States are now at loggerheads over who has the legal custody of Pemberton – whom President Aquino said has been getting “special negative treatment” or even “worse treatment” than a Filipino implicated in a similar crime.

The US embassy in Manila insisted that Pemberton has remained with their custody despite his transfer to a detention facility inside Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. But Justice Secretary Leila de Lima yesterday stressed that the transfer of Pemberton to Camp Aguinaldo was a signal that the 19-year-old US serviceman was already put under custody of Philippine authorities, adding more to the confusion of the custody issue of the murder suspect. De Lima further said that the Philippine government may reject any request of the US government for the custody of Pemberton, despite a provision in the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) that requires the transfer of US servicemen facing criminal investigation and indictment in the country to the custody of the US government upon their request. “(The) Philippine government has also the discretion to insist further on his continued custody by Philippine authorities, by citing compelling or extraordinary reasons,” she told reporters in an ambush interview. De Lima’s statement was contrary to the earlier statement of Undersecretary Jose “JJ” Justiniano that the US government may take Pemberton into its custody under the VFA even while he would be under the jurisdiction of the Philippine authorities. * READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘Pemberton unaware Laude a transgender’  

OCT 23 --PHOTO: OVER THE FENCE- Marc Susselbeck, the German boyfriend of Jeffrey Laude, climbs on Wednesday the gate of Camp Aguinaldo where US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton is detained. AFP PHOTO Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton did not know that Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude was a transgender when they met for the first time on October 11, 2014 at a disco bar in Olongapo City, Zambales, a witness told the Senate on Wednesday. According to Mark Clarence Gelviro alias “Barbie,” he and Laude were having iced tea inside the Ambyanz Disco bar when they saw the group of Pemberton enter the establishment.

Barbie said Pemberton was friendly but he appeared tipsy. “Ang alam po ni Pemberton ay kami po ay mga totoong babae [Pemberton thought that we were real women],” Gelviro added. She was replying to a query by Dindi Tan, a member of the Association of Transgenders of the Philippines (ATP) and one of the resource persons allowed by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations that is conducting an inquiry into the death of Laude. The panel is headed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago. Barbie said around 10 p.m., Laude and Pemberton agreed to leave the bar and go to Celzone Lodge. He accompanied them. * READ MORE...


(ALSO) Goldberg: US abiding by VFA   

By keeping Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton under its custody, the United States is strictly following the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), according to US Ambassador Philip Goldberg. “The Visiting Forces Agreement refers to the issue of custody and says that the US can retain custody through the judicial process,” Goldberg said in an interview on GMA’s “Unang Hirit” program yesterday. “That’s what we have done, and the reason we do this is not for the sake of just having custody. There are rights of service members,” Goldberg said. He said the VFA is designed to “make sure that there is protection for service members” involved in infractions. “There are legal obligations that the US government and the US military have to a suspect in a case where someone is accused of criminal activity, or will be accused perhaps because we’re not even at that stage yet,” he said. Pemberton has not been indicted yet for the death of 26-year-old Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude. Pemberton was a no-show at the preliminary investigation by the Olongapo City Prosecutor’s Office of the murder case against him.

Goldberg said the VFA allows cooperation between US and Philippine investigators so that suspects are identified and cases promptly solved. The US, through its Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), is also investigating the Oct. 11 killing, which took place in a motel in Olongapo. “So people need to understand that the VFA has a purpose,” Goldberg said. “That’s what we negotiated. It’s an agreement that two sovereign countries negotiated, it was approved by the Philippine Senate, it has been ruled as, I understand, constitutional by the Supreme Court so we have an agreement.” He pointed out that there are certain provisions in the VFA that give the Philippines jurisdiction over cases. “And that’s what we need to go forward and see that justice system proceeds, so I think that what it does and what the VFA does is allow us to make sure that the rule of law is followed,” he added. Asked if the US would immediately turn over Pemberton to local authorities in the event of the issuance of a warrant for his arrest, Goldberg said: “As I said we’ll follow the Visiting Forces Agreement.”

Under the VFA, the Philippine government has jurisdiction over the case but the US can take custody of the American soldier. Manila is allowed to request for custody of a suspect, but the US can always turn down such request. The murder of Laude has sparked renewed calls for the abrogation of the VFA. Lack of faith * READ MORE...

ALSO: Laude family may be banned from military camps  

The family of slain transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude and their lawyers may be banned from all military installations in the country because of their attempt to enter a restricted area at Camp Aguinaldo last week. “All those who tried to enter a restricted area and who violated the camp regulations may be banned,” Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc said in a phone interview yesterday. Cabunoc said there is no formal order yet to ban the Laude family and their lawyers, but their attempt to enter the restricted Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB) facility is being investigated.

“Any Filipino citizen can be granted access to any military camp in the Philippines. However, they have to follow the AFP’s rules. There are facilities that cannot be accessed by visitors like the MDB-SEB facility,” he added. Cabunoc noted that the Laude camp used deception when they went to the MDB-SEB facility, where American serviceman Pfc. Joseph Pemberton, the suspect in the killing of Jeffrey, is being detained. He said the Laude family and their lawyers had been barred from entering Gate 3 of Camp Aguinaldo because they were with Jeffrey’s fiancé Marc Suselbeck and foreigners cannot enter camps without clearance. “They hid Suselbeck and entered the camp through Gate 6. They told the guards that they are going to the AFP Public Affairs Office. They lied to the guards,” Cabunoc said. Laude’s mother Julita, his sisters Marilou and Michelle, Suselbeck and their lawyers Harry Roque and Virgie Suarez tried to enter the MDB-SEB facility last Oct. 22 to see Pemberton but were denied entry by military police.

Marilou and Suselbeck climbed over the fence, resulting in a confrontation between the Laude camp and soldiers that lasted for about 30 minutes. Suselbeck pushed T/Sgt. Mariano Pamittan, one of the guards who tried to block him, prompting the military to seek the German’s deportation. Suselbeck has apologized for his misbehavior, but Cabunoc said the AFP remains serious in its plan to ask the Bureau of Immigration to declare Suselbeck an “undesirable alien.” This declaration will effectively bar Laude’s fiancé from returning to the country. “We do not welcome rude people in our camp,” Cabunoc stressed. CCP: AFP is ‘despicable’ But the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said the military is “despicable” for seeking Suselbeck’s deportation and has “showed contempt” for the Laude family while displaying loyalty to its “US military patrons.”  * READ MORE...

ALSO: Transgender's fiance, Sueselbeck faints at NAIA; rushed to hospital 

OCT 26 --PHOTO: German national Marc Sueselbeck, fiance of slain transgender Filipino Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude, lies on the ground after fainting following Bureau of Immigration officials' refusal to allow him to board his flight to Germany at Manila's International Airport, Philippines, Sunday Oct. 26, 2014. The Bureau of Immigration accused Sueselbeck of being an "undesirable alien" for alleged "gross arrogance and serious disrespect to Philippine authorities" after he entered an off-limits U.S.-Philippine compound at the military's Camp Aguinaldo and pushed away a Filipino soldier in a failed attempt to meet U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton, the suspect in Laude's killing. AP PHOTO/AARON FAVILA German national Marc Sueselbeck, fiance of slain transgender Filipino Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, lies on the ground after fainting following Bureau of Immigration officials’ refusal to allow him to board his flight to Germany at Manila’s International Airport, Philippines, Sunday Oct. 26, 2014. The Bureau of Immigration accused Sueselbeck of being an “undesirable alien” for alleged “gross arrogance and serious disrespect to Philippine authorities” after he entered an off-limits U.S.-Philippine compound at the military’s Camp Aguinaldo and pushed away a Filipino soldier in a failed attempt to meet U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton, the suspect in Laude’s killing. AP PHOTO/AARON FAVILA

German national Marc Sueselbeck, the fiancé of slain Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, was rushed to hospital after he fainted at the departure area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport early Sunday night. Radio reports said that Sueselbeck, who was scheduled to leave Manila for Kuala Lumpur Sunday afternoon, collapsed minutes later after he was stopped by immigration personnel. The BI received an order that the German cannot leave the country yet as he has a pending legal matter to settle. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said on Sunday that the Bureau of Immigration had filed “charges of undesirability” against Sueselbeck and United States Marine Corps Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, the alleged murderer of Laude.

The BI is authorized to declare foreigners living or visiting the country as “undesirable” and order their deportation. The affected foreigners have the right to contest such a declaration. “As to Sueselbeck, he’s now [on the] BI watchlist. He will not be arrested, but he will be given copy of the charge sheet and will be prevented from leaving [the Philippines] on account of such charge,” De Lima said in a text message to reporters. The German was reportedly brought by an ambulance to the Makati Medical Center. Last Wednesday, in a commotion aired live on television, Sueselbeck was seen pushing a soldier after the German and Laude’s sister, Marilou, climbed a fence in an attempt to confront Pemberton at his temporary detention cell at the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board compound in Camp Aguinaldo. The Armed Forces of the Philippines later said it would report Sueselbeck’s “misbehavior” to the German Embassy and the BI. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Laude’s fiancé barred from leaving   

OCT 27 --PHOTO: Hold order. Immigration supervisor Marivick Aquino shows Marck Sueselbeck a Justice Department order barring him from leaving the country following his breach of Security in Camp Aguinaldo on Oct. 22. Eric ApolonioMARC Sueselbeck, the German fiancé of slain transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, was barred from leaving the airport on Sunday after an Immigration official showed him a hold-departure order from the Department of Justice. The order arose after Sueselbeck breached security in Camp Aguinaldo on Oct. 22 by climbing a fence and pushing a soldier in an attempt to reach the detention cell of Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton of the US Marines, the suspect in Laude’s killing in Olongapo City on Oct. 11.

Sueselbeck, who checked in around 5 pm at the Malaysian Airlines counter for his 6:30 pm flight to Kuala Lumpur, was told he could not leave the country as a result of the order against him. Immigration supervisor Marivick Aquino said they would be keeping his passport until his case was resolved,
Sueselbeck then left the Immigration office but became hysterical and fainted at the departure lobby, prompting a medical team to take him to the Makati Medical Center. Earlier, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Sueselbeck would not be allowed to leave the country following his “misbehavior” in Camp Aguinaldo on Oct. 22. She said Immigration had initiated deportation proceedings against him for being an undesirable alien and put him in its watch list. “If he appears at the airport, he will not be arrested but he will be given a copy of the charge sheet and will be prevented from leaving on account of that charge,” De Lima said. Immigration issued the same charge against Pemberton, but because Pemberton was already in custody, it placed only Sueselbeck in its watch list, De Lima said. She made the announcement hours before Sueselbeck was set to leave the country, saying he committed illegal acts punishable by law and which warranted his deportation afterwards.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

US Marine suspect in transgender slay transferred to Camp Aguinaldo


Photo of US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton.
PHOTO FROM PEMBERTON FACEBOOK ACCOUNT

MANILA, OCTOBER 27, 2014
(INQUIRER)
By Aries Joseph Hegina, Bong Lozada - US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, the suspect in the killing of transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude in Olongapo City, arrived Wednesday morning at Camp Aguinaldo.

Pemberton was airlifted to the army headquarters from Olongapo City onboard a helicopter and arrived at the camp at around 8:45 a.m.

“The US government is sensitive to our feelings that this unfortunate incident happened, they want to show that they believe in our justice system,” said AFP Chief of Staff Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. in a press conference.

Catapang and Visiting Forces Agreement Commission head Eduardo Oban Jr. were present when Pemberton arrived.

Catapang said it was agreed with the US Armed Forces that Pemberton would be temporarily detained inside the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board compound while the preliminary investigation into the Laude slay case was ongoing.

Catapang clarified that Pemberton would be under joint custody between the United States and the Philippine government.

Catapang said Pemberton’s meals would be courtesy of the US.

The military chief said that Pemberton would be detained in an airconditioned 20-foot container van with a military cot and own comfort room.

Pemberton

Pemberton will be guarded by two US Marines and four Filipino soldiers.

One American soldier will guard Pemberton inside the container van while another will stand outside the temporary cell.
Outside are four members of the Military Police of the AFP that will serve as perimeter watch.

Before he was transferred to Camp Aguinaldo, Pemberton was held onboard the USS Peleliu docked at Subic Bay, Olongapo City.

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Confusion mars Pemberton custody US serviceman getting special negative treatment – Aquino October 23, 2014 Share this:


WHERE IS PEMBERTON? Jeffrey Laude’s eldest sibling, Marilou (left photo), climbs the wire fence of Camp Aguinaldo in a bid to make sure US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, the suspect in the killing of her brother, is held inside the military facility. Laude’s German fiancé Marc Sueselbeck is shown helping Marilou. Right, Pemberton, in handcuffs, is being escorted to a detention facility inside the camp. Top, right, Mark Clarence ‘Barbie’ Gelviro, a witness in the Laude slay; the victim’s sister Michelle; and Elias Galamos, the cashier of the Olongapo lodge, appear before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations yesterday. (Linus Guardian Escandor II, Tony Pionilla, and AP)

Who has legal custody of US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, the suspect in the killing of Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude?

The question cropped up yesterday as the Philippines and United States are now at loggerheads over who has the legal custody of Pemberton – whom President Aquino said has been getting “special negative treatment” or even “worse treatment” than a Filipino implicated in a similar crime.

The US embassy in Manila insisted that Pemberton has remained with their custody despite his transfer to a detention facility inside Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

But Justice Secretary Leila de Lima yesterday stressed that the transfer of Pemberton to Camp Aguinaldo was a signal that the 19-year-old US serviceman was already put under custody of Philippine authorities, adding more to the confusion of the custody issue of the murder suspect.

De Lima further said that the Philippine government may reject any request of the US government for the custody of Pemberton, despite a provision in the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) that requires the transfer of US servicemen facing criminal investigation and indictment in the country to the custody of the US government upon their request.

“(The) Philippine government has also the discretion to insist further on his continued custody by Philippine authorities, by citing compelling or extraordinary reasons,” she told reporters in an ambush interview.

De Lima’s statement was contrary to the earlier statement of Undersecretary Jose “JJ” Justiniano that the US government may take Pemberton into its custody under the VFA even while he would be under the jurisdiction of the Philippine authorities.

* Justiniano, one of the defense lawyers of the four US Marines who stood trial for the 2005 rape of Suzette Nicolas alias Nicole in Subic, cited Article 5, Section 6 of the VFA, which provides that “the custody of any United States personnel over whom the Philippines is to exercise jurisdiction shall immediately reside with United States military authorities, if they so request, from the commission of the offense until completion of all judicial proceedings.”

FROM SUBIC TO QC

Pemberton was transferred to a facility inside the Camp Aguinaldo yesterday under joint security by US and Philippine authorities as agreed upon by officials by both sides. He was airlifted by a US military helicopter from USS Peleliu that is docked in Subic Bay and accompanied by Filipino and American officials.

Members of the media were kept at a distance when the aircraft arrived around 8:35 a.m. in Camp Aguinaldo. But Pemberton, who was in handcuffs and wearing an orange shirt, was seen being taken to the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB) facility inside the camp.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Catapang oversaw the transfer of Pemberton to Camp Aguinaldo. Also present were retired Gen. Eduardo Oban, Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) executive director; and Col. Mike Wylie of the Joint US Military Advisory Group (JUSMAG).

“At around 8:45 a.m., the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) received Pfc Joseph Scott Pemberton from US authorities,” Catapang later said in a press conference.

“He will be detained at the MDB-SEB facility inside the camp while the preliminary investigation is ongoing,” Catapang added.

DETENTION CELL

The AFP chief described Pemberton’s detention facility as a 20-foot container van installed with iron bars and an air-conditioning unit. He will be sleeping in military type cot-bed.

Asked why Pemberton’s detention facility has to be airconditioned, Catapang said, “Kailangan kasi container van yun… mamamatay siya dun . . . ma-suffocate siya… Nakaselyado ‘to, mamamatay ka dito pag hindi ka mag-aircon.”

For De Lima, the transfer was a signal that the 19-year-old US serviceman was already put under custody of Philippine authorities.

She even said the VFA commission had quietly worked for the transfer through diplomatic channels.

“It just showed that they (US government) willingly gave Pemberton to our custody while waiting for the results of the PI (preliminary investigation). Their main commitment under the VFA is to ensure his availability and accessibility for purposes of investigation and judicial proceedings,” she explained.

PH JURISDICTION

At the Senate hearing on the death of Laude, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said the Philippines unquestionably enjoys the primary right to exercise jurisdiction over offenses committed by United States servicemen in the country, save for offenses solely against the security, property, or person of the US government and personnel.

Del Rosario pointed out that unlike in previous times when the country was hosting US bases, the Philippines now has the authority to prosecute US servicemen in the Philippines, to try them in the Philippines, and if convicted, to jail them in the Philippines.

President Aquino rejected criticisms that the government was treating Pemberton with kids gloves.

“We are handling it with kid gloves? In fairness, given similar conditions, a Filipino citizen accused of this crime would probably have the same treatment,” the President said at a media forum in Ortigas.

“He is not being treated with kid gloves and the Americans, may I reiterate, are conforming to the treaty wherein they have to make this person and others available for both the investigative

and the judicial processes that are forthcoming,” he added.

“You’re saying ‘special treatment.’ He’s getting a special negative treatment in effect,” he said.

“He is getting a treatment that is less than that accorded by our system to a Filipino accused of a similar crime. And then you come and tell me he’s getting a better treatment? It’s a worse treatment,” Aquino added.

The decision to detain Pemberton in the facility was mutually agreed by both governments of the US and the Philippines through its embassies, Catapang said.

House Deputy Majority Leader and Citizens Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna welcomed the US government’s move to turn over Pemberton, saying it only shows that the Obama administration “respects the Philippine law and sovereignty.”

Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon said the government should insist for full custody of Pemberton, as he asked the AFP not to grant “special treatment” to the beleaguered US serviceman.

Catapang stressed that Pemberton’s detention in Camp Aguinaldo is only temporary pending order from the court.

JOINT SECURITY

While at Camp Aguinaldo, two US Marine personnel and four AFP Military Police (MP) personnel will be tasked to guard Pemberton.

“It will be joint security… inside the container van there will be one US soldier and then outside the container van there will be another US soldier,” said Catapang.

Yesterday afternoon, Laude’s sister Marilou and German fiancé Marc Sueselback barged into Camp Aguinaldo in a bid to see Pemberton by climbing the 10-foot fence. Though the two trespass the military camp, soldiers exercised maximum tolerance.

SCRAP VFA

At the Senate, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Legislative Oversight Committee on the VFA (LOVFA), renewed yesterday her call to scrap the 15-year-old VFA on the ground, among others, of “gross disparity” in the provisions on jurisdiction and custody.

In a statement opening the more than two-hour public hearing by her committee, Santiago bewailed the “iniquitous” treatment by the VFA of Philippine interests.

“The failure to produce the body of Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton before the Olongapo City Prosecutor (last Tuesday) is already an indication that the US is not in good faith, a reflection of the lopsided attitude of the VFA,” she said.

Del Rosario told Santiago that the turn over by the US government of Pemberton was a result of the DFA’s note verbale. (With reports from Roy C. Mabasa, Charissa M. Luci, and Mario B. Casayuran)

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

‘Pemberton unaware Laude a transgender’ October 22, 2014 10:56 pm
by JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA REPORTER


OVER THE FENCE- Marc Susselbeck, the German boyfriend of Jeffrey Laude, climbs on Wednesday the gate of Camp Aguinaldo where US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton is detained. AFP PHOTO

Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton did not know that Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude was a transgender when they met for the first time on October 11, 2014 at a disco bar in Olongapo City, Zambales, a witness told the Senate on Wednesday.

According to Mark Clarence Gelviro alias “Barbie,” he and Laude were having iced tea inside the Ambyanz Disco bar when they saw the group of Pemberton enter the establishment.

Barbie said Pemberton was friendly but he appeared tipsy.

“Ang alam po ni Pemberton ay kami po ay mga totoong babae [Pemberton thought that we were real women],” Gelviro added.

She was replying to a query by Dindi Tan, a member of the Association of Transgenders of the Philippines (ATP) and one of the resource persons allowed by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations that is conducting an inquiry into the death of Laude. The panel is headed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

Barbie said around 10 p.m., Laude and Pemberton agreed to leave the bar and go to Celzone Lodge. He accompanied them.
* When they arrived at the lodge, he joined the two inside Room 1 for a few minutes. When he left the room, he said he met an acquaintance and he agreed to go with him to another room."

After 30 minutes, Barbie said the cashier of the lodge informed him that Laude was found unconscious.

The cashier, Elias Galamos, also attended the Senate inquiry. He said he saw Pemberton walk out of the room and leave the lodge less than an hour after they checked in.

He said Pemberton left the door open, prompting him to check if there was somebody inside. He closed the door when he noticed that the room was still occupied.

But when he returned after 30 minutes to check on the remaining guest, nobody answered him.

It was then that he decided to open the room, discovering the motionless body of Laude slumped at the toilet bowl.

Also during the hearing, Michelle Laude, Jennifer’s older sister, dismissed insinuations that the victim was a sex worker.

According to her, Jeffrey had not gone out at night for a year since he had become a homebody.

Jeffrey also does not drink alcoholic beverages and that his only source of income was the allowance being sent by his German fiancé.

Michelle admitted she was at the same disco bar where Jeffrey met Pemberton but she was with her friends.

Huling video ni Jennifer, ipinakita ng German fiance
(LAST VIDEO SHOWN BY GERMAN FIANCE)

Dumating na sa burol ni Jennifer Laude ang kanyang German fiance. Eksklusibo siyang nakapanayam ng ABS-CBN News habang nasa biyahe. Ipinakita rin niya ang huling video ni Jennifer na ipinadala sa kanya, ilang oras bago ito napatay. Nagpa-Patrol si Jenny Reyes. TV Patrol, Oktubre 20, 2014, Lunes

FROM PHILSTAR

Goldberg: US abiding by VFA By Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 24, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton

MANILA, Philippines - By keeping Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton under its custody, the United States is strictly following the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), according to US Ambassador Philip Goldberg.

“The Visiting Forces Agreement refers to the issue of custody and says that the US can retain custody through the judicial process,” Goldberg said in an interview on GMA’s “Unang Hirit” program yesterday.

“That’s what we have done, and the reason we do this is not for the sake of just having custody. There are rights of service members,” Goldberg said.

He said the VFA is designed to “make sure that there is protection for service members” involved in infractions.

“There are legal obligations that the US government and the US military have to a suspect in a case where someone is accused of criminal activity, or will be accused perhaps because we’re not even at that stage yet,” he said. Pemberton has not been indicted yet for the death of 26-year-old Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude. Pemberton was a no-show at the preliminary investigation by the Olongapo City Prosecutor’s Office of the murder case against him.

Goldberg said the VFA allows cooperation between US and Philippine investigators so that suspects are identified and cases promptly solved.

The US, through its Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), is also investigating the Oct. 11 killing, which took place in a motel in Olongapo.

“So people need to understand that the VFA has a purpose,” Goldberg said. “That’s what we negotiated. It’s an agreement that two sovereign countries negotiated, it was approved by the Philippine Senate, it has been ruled as, I understand, constitutional by the Supreme Court so we have an agreement.”

He pointed out that there are certain provisions in the VFA that give the Philippines jurisdiction over cases.

“And that’s what we need to go forward and see that justice system proceeds, so I think that what it does and what the VFA does is allow us to make sure that the rule of law is followed,” he added.

Asked if the US would immediately turn over Pemberton to local authorities in the event of the issuance of a warrant for his arrest, Goldberg said: “As I said we’ll follow the Visiting Forces Agreement.”

Under the VFA, the Philippine government has jurisdiction over the case but the US can take custody of the American soldier. Manila is allowed to request for custody of a suspect, but the US can always turn down such request.

The murder of Laude has sparked renewed calls for the abrogation of the VFA.

Lack of faith

*BThe Pemberton custody issue has shown the US’ shaky security commitments and lack of faith in the Philippines’ justice system, former senator Joker Arroyo said.

“Since the US does not have faith in the Philippines’ justice system, how can Filipinos be expected to have faith in America’s security commitments?” Arroyo said.

“That is the simple issue highlighted by the Pemberton case and similar cases in the past. The Philippines has had half a dozen defense and security arrangements with the US since 1951. The country is divided as to its wisdom and necessity,” he said.

“Predictably, the US immediately protects the US servicemen. If the US cannot even protect Filipino women from US servicemen, how can Filipinos rely on the US to live up to her commitments embodied in the treaties or agreements they have with us,” Arroyo added.

Arroyo also urged his former colleagues to consider the US response to the Pemberton case in gauging the depth of US commitment to support the Philippines in higher security-related missions.

The retired lawmaker also supported calls for a review of the VFA and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

“That should be food for thought for the Senate whose members’ battle-cry is to review the VFA, but with cautionary statement not to abrogate it,” he said.

He said “the haunting question is trust, whether as allies we can trust each other.”

For Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, the issue of custody continues to haunt the nation 15 years after the ratification of the VFA. - With Marvin Sy, Christina Mendez

Laude family may be banned from military camps By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 27, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


LAUDE FAMILY

MANILA, Philippines - The family of slain transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude and their lawyers may be banned from all military installations in the country because of their attempt to enter a restricted area at Camp Aguinaldo last week.

“All those who tried to enter a restricted area and who violated the camp regulations may be banned,” Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc said in a phone interview yesterday.

Cabunoc said there is no formal order yet to ban the Laude family and their lawyers, but their attempt to enter the restricted Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB) facility is being investigated.

“Any Filipino citizen can be granted access to any military camp in the Philippines. However, they have to follow the AFP’s rules. There are facilities that cannot be accessed by visitors like the MDB-SEB facility,” he added.

Cabunoc noted that the Laude camp used deception when they went to the MDB-SEB facility, where American serviceman Pfc. Joseph Pemberton, the suspect in the killing of Jeffrey, is being detained.

He said the Laude family and their lawyers had been barred from entering Gate 3 of Camp Aguinaldo because they were with Jeffrey’s fiancé Marc Suselbeck and foreigners cannot enter camps without clearance.

“They hid Suselbeck and entered the camp through Gate 6. They told the guards that they are going to the AFP Public Affairs Office. They lied to the guards,” Cabunoc said.

Laude’s mother Julita, his sisters Marilou and Michelle, Suselbeck and their lawyers Harry Roque and Virgie Suarez tried to enter the MDB-SEB facility last Oct. 22 to see Pemberton but were denied entry by military police.

Marilou and Suselbeck climbed over the fence, resulting in a confrontation between the Laude camp and soldiers that lasted for about 30 minutes.

Suselbeck pushed T/Sgt. Mariano Pamittan, one of the guards who tried to block him, prompting the military to seek the German’s deportation.

Suselbeck has apologized for his misbehavior, but Cabunoc said the AFP remains serious in its plan to ask the Bureau of Immigration to declare Suselbeck an “undesirable alien.”

This declaration will effectively bar Laude’s fiancé from returning to the country.

“We do not welcome rude people in our camp,” Cabunoc stressed.

CCP: AFP is ‘despicable’

But the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said the military is “despicable” for seeking Suselbeck’s deportation and has “showed contempt” for the Laude family while displaying loyalty to its “US military patrons.”

* “It is despicable how the top leadership of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is ganging up on, and badgering, Mr. Marc Suselbeck,” CPP said in a statement.

“Climbing the fence was clearly an act of frustration after camp officials repeatedly ignored the pleas of the Laude family to verify the presence of Pemberton in the compound,” it added.

‘VFA working’

But Sen. Francis Escudero said yesterday that the mechanisms under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) are working in the wake of the killing of Laude.

Escudero noted that there is no legal justification yet for the detention of Pemberton since no warrant of arrest has been issued against him.

“If there is no VFA, there is nothing which could have prevented Pemberton to board his ship and leave the country or take the plane and escape,” Escudero said over dzBB radio.

He said the Philippine and US governments may have reached a “Solomonic decision” allowing Pemberton’s detention in Philippine territory where the first perimeter of security is covered by Americans and the periphery secured by the Philippine military. – With Christina Mendez

FROM THE INQUIRER

Transgender's fiance, Sueselbeck faints; rushed to hospital
INQUIRER.net6:34 pm | Sunday, October 26th, 2014 4489 64


German national Marc Sueselbeck, fiance of slain transgender Filipino Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude, lies on the ground after fainting following Bureau of Immigration officials' refusal to allow him to board his flight to Germany at Manila's International Airport, Philippines, Sunday Oct. 26, 2014. The Bureau of Immigration accused Sueselbeck of being an "undesirable alien" for alleged "gross arrogance and serious disrespect to Philippine authorities" after he entered an off-limits U.S.-Philippine compound at the military's Camp Aguinaldo and pushed away a Filipino soldier in a failed attempt to meet U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton, the suspect in Laude's killing. AP PHOTO/AARON FAVILA

MANILA, Philippines — German national Marc Sueselbeck, the fiancé of slain Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, was rushed to hospital after he fainted at the departure area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport early Sunday night.

Radio reports said that Sueselbeck, who was scheduled to leave Manila for Kuala Lumpur Sunday afternoon, collapsed minutes later after he was stopped by immigration personnel.

The BI received an order that the German cannot leave the country yet as he has a pending legal matter to settle.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said on Sunday that the Bureau of Immigration had filed “charges of undesirability” against Sueselbeck and United States Marine Corps Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, the alleged murderer of Laude.

The BI is authorized to declare foreigners living or visiting the country as “undesirable” and order their deportation. The affected foreigners have the right to contest such a declaration.

“As to Sueselbeck, he’s now [on the] BI watchlist. He will not be arrested, but he will be given copy of the charge sheet and will be prevented from leaving [the Philippines] on account of such charge,” De Lima said in a text message to reporters.

The German was reportedly brought by an ambulance to the Makati Medical Center.

Last Wednesday, in a commotion aired live on television, Sueselbeck was seen pushing a soldier after the German and Laude’s sister, Marilou, climbed a fence in an attempt to confront Pemberton at his temporary detention cell at the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board compound in Camp Aguinaldo.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines later said it would report Sueselbeck’s “misbehavior” to the German Embassy and the BI.

Laude’s fiancé barred from leaving By Eric B. Apolonio, Rey E. Requejo | Oct. 27, 2014 at 12:01am


Hold order. Immigration supervisor Marivick Aquino shows Marck Sueselbeck a Justice Department order barring him from leaving the country following his breach of Security in Camp Aguinaldo on Oct. 22. Eric Apolonio

MARC Sueselbeck, the German fiancé of slain transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, was barred from leaving the airport on Sunday after an Immigration official showed him a hold-departure order from the Department of Justice.

The order arose after Sueselbeck breached security in Camp Aguinaldo on Oct. 22 by climbing a fence and pushing a soldier in an attempt to reach the detention cell of Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton of the US Marines, the suspect in Laude’s killing in Olongapo City on Oct. 11.

Sueselbeck, who checked in around 5 pm at the Malaysian Airlines counter for his 6:30 pm flight to Kuala Lumpur, was told he could not leave the country as a result of the order against him. Immigration supervisor Marivick Aquino said they would be keeping his passport until his case was resolved,

Sueselbeck then left the Immigration office but became hysterical and fainted at the departure lobby, prompting a medical team to take him to the Makati Medical Center.

Earlier, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Sueselbeck would not be allowed to leave the country following his “misbehavior” in Camp Aguinaldo on Oct. 22.

She said Immigration had initiated deportation proceedings against him for being an undesirable alien and put him in its watch list.

“If he appears at the airport, he will not be arrested but he will be given a copy of the charge sheet and will be prevented from leaving on account of that charge,” De Lima said.

Immigration issued the same charge against Pemberton, but because Pemberton was already in custody, it placed only Sueselbeck in its watch list, De Lima said.

She made the announcement hours before Sueselbeck was set to leave the country, saying he committed illegal acts punishable by law and which warranted his deportation afterwards.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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