GMA-7's "MY HUSBAND'S LOVER" GETS INT'L EMMY NOD 

OCT 14 --Tom Rodriguez and Dennis Trillo of GMA-7's 2013 soap opera "My Husband's Lover."
STAR/File Photo. MANILA, Philippines – GMA-7's 2013 soap opera “My Husband's Lover” received a nomination in the 42nd International Emmy Awards. The gay-themed series, which starred Dennis Trillo, Tom Rodriguez, and Carla Abellana, is nominated in the Telenovela category of the international award-giving body. The TV show will compete with Canada's “30 Lives: Maxim Bouchard (30 Vies),” Portugal's “Belmonte,” and Brazil's “Precious Pearl” for the award. “My Husband's Lover” is about Lally (Abellana) who discovered her husband Vincent (Rodriguez) is having an affair with Eric (Trillo). The show ran from June to October last year. The winners of the 42nd International Emmy Awards will be announced on November 24 in New York City.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: My Husband’s Lover’ nominated for International Emmy Awards 

OCT 14 --DENNIS Trillo and Tom Rodriguez kiss in a scene that wasn’t televised. INSTAGRAM
PHOTO/@popoycaritativo. MANILA, Philippines—”My Husband’s Lover” was nominated for an International Emmy Awards under the Telenovela category, the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences said in a post on its website. The three other nominees in the Telenovela category were: – “30 Lives: Maxim Bouchard” from Canada, – “Belmonte” from Portugal, and – “Precious Pearl” from Brazil.

The International Emmy Awards are given by the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to recognize excellence in television produced outside of the United States. This year’s awards will be presented to the winners on November 24 at the New York Hilton Hotel. “My Husband’s Lover” was the top-rating primetime soap opera in 2013 produced and aired on GMA 7. More than a story about homosexuality, it is a modern day love triangle among a married gay man, his wife and his gay lover. The soap was so popular its lead actors-onscreen lovers Dennis Trillo and Tom Rodriguez, spawned the love team “Tom-Den”.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: Something different for TomDen reunion  

OCT 14 --DENNIS Trillo (left) and Tom Rodriguez compete in the Kapuso Weekend games in Boracay. Six months after GMA 7’s gay-themed drama series “My Husband’s Lover” (MHL) aired its final episode, its main stars Dennis Trillo and Tom Rodriguez continue to receive questions about the likelihood of an on-screen reunion. The possibility of collaborating again will always be there, according to Dennis. Given the chance, however, the actor said he and Tom would love to do something drastically different. In the hit TV series, Tom played a married man, Vincent, who fell in love with Eric (Dennis).

“Maybe we can do an action show or film,” suggested Tom in an interview during GMA Regional TV’s Kapuso Weekend in Boracay event. “We always want to do new things so that our fans won’t get tired of watching us.” Asked if they would consider accepting another gay role soon, the two Kapuso stars said it would all depend on the material. Dennis admitted he had turned down a few offers to do gay roles in the past, mainly because some of them required gratuitous scenes. “The great thing about MHL is that it was story-driven … so we didn’t need to resort to bed scenes.” The two actors, whose team-up is called “TomDen,” admit that MHL opened doors for them. Tom recently did the Regal Entertainment rom-com “So It’s You,” in which he was paired with MHL costar Carla Abellana. “As an actor, I aspire to be versatile enough to be paired with other artists and make it work … I learn so much from them,” Tom said. * READ MORE...


ALSO: Mom of murdered transgender not informed about slay  

PHOTO: SLAIN TRANSGENDERED JENNIFER PHOTO AND SISTER MICHELLE LAUDE ON ABS-CBN
VIDEO INTERVIEW. OLONGAPO - The mother of a murdered transgender in Olongapo City, allegedly at the hands of a US Marine, has not been informed about the crime, the victim's sister said Tuesday. Speaking to ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda, Michelle Laude, sister of murder victim Jeffrey Laude, said their mother has not been informed about the murder since she had just come out of the hospital. "Hindi pa nga po dahil may sakit po yun, kakalabas lang po," she said in the interview. Michelle said she is asking her stepfather to take care of her mom and to keep her away from watching TV for now.

She said she is fearful that the news might be too much for their mom. "Natatakot po ako dahil ang kapatid ko nawala. Ayaw ko naman mawala yung nanay naman. Hindi ko kayang dalawa sila," she said. Michelle earlier said Laude had a German fiance. She described her sibling as kind towards their family. "Para po sa akin, bilang isang kapatid, si Ganda po sobrang bait. Wala siyang ibang iniisip kundi kami," she said. She added: "Kahit na medyo nakakaangat siya sa akin, humihingi siya sa amin nang payo. 'Dapat ko ba gawin ito, day?'" Authorities are investigating the murder of Laude alias "Jennifer" whose body was found naked and lifeless inside a motel bathroom last Saturday. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Slain transgender's mom seeks help from Aquino  

OCT 16 ---PHOTO: Protesters, mostly supporters of LGBT (Lesbians Gays Bisexuals and Transgenders) shout slogans during a rally at the Department of Foreign Affairs to demand justice for the killing of Filipino transgender Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude with a U.S. Marine as a possible suspect Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014 at suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. The activists demanded that Washington hand over to the Philippines a Marine implicated in the killing of Laude which the demonstrators labeled a hate crime. AP/Bullit Marquez MANILA, Philippines - The mother of slain Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude is appealing to President Benigno Aquino III for help as their lawyer lambasted the supposedly slow government action on the case. "Sana kaming mahihirap, 'wag kaming baliwalain. May karapatan din kaming mag-reklamo," Julita Laude said in a televised press conference in Olongapo City on Thursday. "Sana tulungan niya kami. Kasi kung ganoon lang din na walang mangyayari, para lang din kaming itinapon."

"Naghahanap kami ng hustisya... Sana maawa siya, tulungan niya kami. Sana man lang may aksyon o umusad itong aming nirereklamo para may kabuluhan din itong ipinaglalaban namin," she added. Represented by lawyer Harry Roque, the Laude family has filed a murder complaint against United States Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, who is now being held onboard the USS Peleliu. Roque said it is now up to the government to make sure that justice will be served. But since the filing of charges against Pemberton, Roque said nobody from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) Commission approached them to discuss their next steps. "Bakit po hanggang ngayon, ang DFA, ang VFA Commission hindi man lang nagdadaan dito at nagpapakita sa mga biktima? Kinakailangan pa ba nilang maglupasay?" Roque asked. "Ni pakikiramay wala. Ni haniho, wala kaming narinig. Ni bisita wala," he added. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace backs VFA review in light of transgender slay  

Malacañang is in favor of having the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) reviewed as proposed by some lawmakers in the light of the killing of a 26-year-old Filipino transgender allegedly by a US Marine, who is in US custody. Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. pointed this out yesterday as he admitted that a review of the VFA following the 2005 rape case involving another US serviceman and a Filipina called Nicole did not settle ticklish provisions in the agreement. Coloma said the death of Jeffrey Laude was saddening and unacceptable and “gave stronger basis to re-evaluate the prevailing provision in the agreement to ensure that national interest will be upheld and justice is served to our people.”

The suspect in the killing of Laude, US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, is in the custody of his superiors on the Navy ship USS Peleliu, which is docked in Subic Bay. The US Navy is likely to keep Pemberton for the duration of his trial in local courts – possibly for murder – despite calls that he be turned over to Philippine authorities. In 2005, US Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith and three other Marines stayed in the US embassy while being tried for raping “Nicole” also in Olongapo City. Coloma said the government is determined to serve justice to the family of Laude and that “the Philippine government is working closely with the US government” to achieve this end. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Laude slay more than gender hate crime, also issue of US soldiers' ‘special treatment’ under VFA—UP prof  

OCT 16 --PHOTO: Members of the LGBT community, LFS , Gabriela and other cause-oriented group stage an indignation rally at the US Embassy. The groups condemned Tuesday the killing of the Filipino transgender Jaime “Jennifer” Laude and call on the government to assert the Philippine’s jurisdiction over the crime. JOAN BONDOC MANILA, Philippines—The killing of Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude allegedly at the hands of a US Marine is more than a gender hate crime; it is also about the unequal agreements with the United States that serve to protect their soldiers while on alien soil, a UP Manila professor said on Wednesday.

Prof. Roland Simbulan of the UP Manila Development Studies and Public Management Department cited the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the newly signed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca). The two agreements are related, Simbulan said, while the VFA allows US troops visitation powers despite the absence of their own military bases in the country, Edca allows US to set up their own temporary facilities for the increased American troops’ rotational presence. These agreements serve to protect American troops in case they commit a crime in another country, Simbulan said. “These agreements give special treatment to the US forces… By giving them special treatment, they’re able to get away with it,” said Simbulan, known for his books echoing anti-American military bases sentiment. On Saturday, Laude together with a male foreigner checked in at the Celzone Lodge. She was found lifeless on the floor hours later and was believed to have been strangled to death. The suspect, identified as Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, is held onboard the USS Peleliu while a joint Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Philippine National Police investigation is ongoing. Simbulan said a crime like murder normally would be subjected under the country’s laws. But with the VFA, a sense of special treatment is granted to the US soldier, he added. * READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS:

GMA-7's 'My Husband's Lover' gets International Emmy nod


Tom Rodriguez and Dennis Trillo of GMA-7's 2013 soap opera "My Husband's Lover." STAR/File Photo

MANILA, OCTOBER 20, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Chuck Smith - GMA-7's 2013 soap opera “My Husband's Lover” received a nomination in the 42nd International Emmy Awards.

The gay-themed series, which starred Dennis Trillo, Tom Rodriguez, and Carla Abellana, is nominated in the Telenovela category of the international award-giving body.

The TV show will compete with Canada's “30 Lives: Maxim Bouchard (30 Vies),” Portugal's “Belmonte,” and Brazil's “Precious Pearl” for the award.

“My Husband's Lover” is about Lally (Abellana) who discovered her husband Vincent (Rodriguez) is having an affair with Eric (Trillo). The show ran from June to October last year.

The winners of the 42nd International Emmy Awards will be announced on November 24 in New York City.

FROM THE INQUIRER

My Husband’s Lover’ nominated for International Emmy Awards By Bayani San Diego Jr. | Philippine Daily InquirerOctober 14, 2014 | 7:19 pm


DENNIS Trillo and Tom Rodriguez kiss in a scene that wasn’t televised. INSTAGRAM PHOTO/@popoycaritativo

MANILA, Philippines—”My Husband’s Lover” was nominated for an International Emmy Awards under the Telenovela category, the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences said in a post on its website.

The three other nominees in the Telenovela category were:

– “30 Lives: Maxim Bouchard” from Canada,
– “Belmonte” from Portugal, and
– “Precious Pearl” from Brazil.

The International Emmy Awards are given by the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to recognize excellence in television produced outside of the United States. This year’s awards will be presented to the winners on November 24 at the New York Hilton Hotel.

“My Husband’s Lover” was the top-rating primetime soap opera in 2013 produced and aired on GMA 7.

More than a story about homosexuality, it is a modern day love triangle among a married gay man, his wife and his gay lover.

The soap was so popular its lead actors-onscreen lovers Dennis Trillo and Tom Rodriguez, spawned the love team “Tom-Den”.

Something different for TomDen reunion By Allan Policarpio | Philippine Daily InquirerMay 21, 2014 | 12:57 am


DENNIS Trillo (left) and Tom Rodriguez compete in the Kapuso Weekend games in Boracay.

Six months after GMA 7’s gay-themed drama series “My Husband’s Lover” (MHL) aired its final episode, its main stars Dennis Trillo and Tom Rodriguez continue to receive questions about the likelihood of an on-screen reunion.

The possibility of collaborating again will always be there, according to Dennis. Given the chance, however, the actor said he and Tom would love to do something drastically different. In the hit TV series, Tom played a married man, Vincent, who fell in love with Eric (Dennis).

“Maybe we can do an action show or film,” suggested Tom in an interview during GMA Regional TV’s Kapuso Weekend in Boracay event. “We always want to do new things so that our fans won’t get tired of watching us.”

Asked if they would consider accepting another gay role soon, the two Kapuso stars said it would all depend on the material.

Dennis admitted he had turned down a few offers to do gay roles in the past, mainly because some of them required gratuitous scenes. “The great thing about MHL is that it was story-driven … so we didn’t need to resort to bed scenes.”
The two actors, whose team-up is called “TomDen,” admit that MHL opened doors for them.

Tom recently did the Regal Entertainment rom-com “So It’s You,” in which he was paired with MHL costar Carla Abellana.

“As an actor, I aspire to be versatile enough to be paired with other artists and make it work … I learn so much from them,” Tom said.

* While already an established artist in the industry, Dennis said his career and personal life benefited greatly from the show, too. “I managed to breathe life into a character that people fell in love with. And in turn, I feel loved as well,” Dennis said.

Going indie

Unlike Tom, who is making mainstream films, Dennis took the indie route, with the drama-action movie “The Janitor”—an entry in the Director’s Showcase section of the 10th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival. Directed by Mike Tuviera, the film, Dennis related, is based on an unresolved bank robbery and massacre case in Laguna in 2008.

Dennis, who previously starred in Brillante Ma. Mendoza’s “Sapi,” said he loved the sense of fearlessness of indie filmmaking. “Indie films are not about the usual stories: missing children, etc.—it’s different from what we usually do on TV,” he said. “As an artist, I get a different kind of fulfillment from indie movies.”

Although Tom has already done an indie film, Alvin Yapan’s comedy flick “GayDar,” the Kapuso talent said he was looking forward to tackling more serious roles in the future. “I still have a lot to learn. I hope to get a chance when I’m ready,” said Tom, who likewise expressed interest in the fantasy genre.

Gold status

Meanwhile, Tom and Dennis were both stoked that their album under GMA Records, also titled “TomDen,” has reached gold status.

“Fewer people buy CDs nowadays, but it’s heartening to see that fans actually spend money for our album,” Dennis said.

While the pair isn’t about to launch a serious music career anytime soon, Tom said he was glad he and Dennis were able to do other things in show biz apart from acting. “We want to explore different outlets; we want to try things that we won’t be able to do on our own,” he said.

FROM ABS-CBN

Ma of murdered transgender not informed about slay ABS-CBNnews.com Posted at 10/14/2014 11:09 AM | Updated as of 10/14/2014 11:21 AM


SLAIN TRANSGENDERED JENNIFER PHOTO AND SISTER MICHELLE LAUDE ON ABS-CBN VIDEO INTERVIEW.

OLONGAPO - The mother of a murdered transgender in Olongapo City, allegedly at the hands of a US Marine, has not been informed about the crime, the victim's sister said Tuesday.

Speaking to ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda, Michelle Laude, sister of murder victim Jeffrey Laude, said their mother has not been informed about the murder since she had just come out of the hospital.

"Hindi pa nga po dahil may sakit po yun, kakalabas lang po," she said in the interview.

Michelle said she is asking her stepfather to take care of her mom and to keep her away from watching TV for now.

She said she is fearful that the news might be too much for their mom.

"Natatakot po ako dahil ang kapatid ko nawala. Ayaw ko naman mawala yung nanay naman. Hindi ko kayang dalawa sila," she said.

Michelle earlier said Laude had a German fiance. She described her sibling as kind towards their family.

"Para po sa akin, bilang isang kapatid, si Ganda po sobrang bait. Wala siyang ibang iniisip kundi kami," she said.

She added: "Kahit na medyo nakakaangat siya sa akin, humihingi siya sa amin nang payo. 'Dapat ko ba gawin ito, day?'"

Authorities are investigating the murder of Laude alias "Jennifer" whose body was found naked and lifeless inside a motel bathroom last Saturday.

* Based on the initial investigation of the Olongapo police, Laude's neck was pressed down on the toilet seat, while her head was being shoved into the toilet bowl.

Two used condoms were also found in the garbage can inside the hotel room.

CCTV footage taken at a bar in Olongapo City shows four male foreigners with Laude.

Laude's friend said the foreigners approached them inside the bar on the evening of October 11.

A few minutes later, Laude and one of the foreigners checked in at Celzone Lodge.

The foreigner was spotted leaving the room at 11:45 p.m.

Motel staff who entered the room to clean it found the victim's body.

There were no signs of a struggle in the bedroom and Laude's belongings were complete.

Police are now looking at two motives behind the killing.

One -- The foreigner could have found out that Laude was a transgender. However, authorities doubt this theory because of the used condoms discovered in the room.

Another theory of investigators is Laude could have tried to steal from the foreigner.

The US embassy in Manila has said that a US Marine is the possible suspect.

FROM PHILSTAR

Slain transgender's mom seeks help from Aquino (philstar.com) | Updated October 16, 2014 - 5:02pm 4 172 googleplus0 0


Protesters, mostly supporters of LGBT (Lesbians Gays Bisexuals and Transgenders) shout slogans during a rally at the Department of Foreign Affairs to demand justice for the killing of Filipino transgender Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude with a U.S. Marine as a possible suspect Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014 at suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. The activists demanded that Washington hand over to the Philippines a Marine implicated in the killing of Laude which the demonstrators labeled a hate crime. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines - The mother of slain Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude is appealing to President Benigno Aquino III for help as their lawyer lambasted the supposedly slow government action on the case.

"Sana kaming mahihirap, 'wag kaming baliwalain. May karapatan din kaming mag-reklamo," Julita Laude said in a televised press conference in Olongapo City on Thursday. "Sana tulungan niya kami. Kasi kung ganoon lang din na walang mangyayari, para lang din kaming itinapon."

"Naghahanap kami ng hustisya... Sana maawa siya, tulungan niya kami. Sana man lang may aksyon o umusad itong aming nirereklamo para may kabuluhan din itong ipinaglalaban namin," she added.

Represented by lawyer Harry Roque, the Laude family has filed a murder complaint against United States Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, who is now being held onboard the USS Peleliu.

Roque said it is now up to the government to make sure that justice will be served. But since the filing of charges against Pemberton, Roque said nobody from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) Commission approached them to discuss their next steps.

"Bakit po hanggang ngayon, ang DFA, ang VFA Commission hindi man lang nagdadaan dito at nagpapakita sa mga biktima? Kinakailangan pa ba nilang maglupasay?" Roque asked.

"Ni pakikiramay wala. Ni haniho, wala kaming narinig. Ni bisita wala," he added.

* Roque and the elder Laude said they will personally give the murder complaint to Pemberton if the government fails to do so.

Meanwhile, Malacañang said the DFA has met with the Department of Justice to discuss the case.

"The Philippine government is working closely with the US government to ensure that the ends of justice will be served," Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a televised press briefing.

Philippines must take custody

Roque also criticized Philippine authorities for letting the US to take custody of Pemberton. He said the DFA and the VFA should have made a move to take custody when the suspect was identified by the police.

He cited a provision of the VFA, which states that "the custody of any United States personnel... shall immediately reside with United States military authorities, if they so request, from the commission of the offense until completion of all judicial proceedings."

"Natutulog po sa pansitan ang mga awtoridad natin. Hinayaan po na ang pagkatao nitong si Pemberton ay manatili sa mga Amerikano samantalang sa kasunduang pinasok natin mismo, kinakailangang mag-request ang mga Amerikano."

"At ang assumption po, dahil kailangang mag-request sila, hawak natin (ang custody) as soon as malaman natin ang identity ni Pemberton," Roque added.

Palace backs VFA review in light of transgender slay By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 17, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang is in favor of having the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) reviewed as proposed by some lawmakers in the light of the killing of a 26-year-old Filipino transgender allegedly by a US Marine, who is in US custody.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. pointed this out yesterday as he admitted that a review of the VFA following the 2005 rape case involving another US serviceman and a Filipina called Nicole did not settle ticklish provisions in the agreement.

Coloma said the death of Jeffrey Laude was saddening and unacceptable and “gave stronger basis to re-evaluate the prevailing provision in the agreement to ensure that national interest will be upheld and justice is served to our people.”

The suspect in the killing of Laude, US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, is in the custody of his superiors on the Navy ship USS Peleliu, which is docked in Subic Bay.

The US Navy is likely to keep Pemberton for the duration of his trial in local courts – possibly for murder – despite calls that he be turned over to Philippine authorities.

In 2005, US Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith and three other Marines stayed in the US embassy while being tried for raping “Nicole” also in Olongapo City.

Coloma said the government is determined to serve justice to the family of Laude and that “the Philippine government is working closely with the US government” to achieve this end.

* He said the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Justice and concerned officials were working on the processes leading to the prosecution of the case and the issue of custody.

The DFA had announced the Philippine government would insist on taking custody of Pemberton.

Coloma said a review of the VFA provisions was done in coordination with the US but that no formal agreement was reached on having some provisions modified or dropped altogether.

“And the reality is that this recent incident caught up with (the unfinished review),” he said.

“It (custody issue) was addressed and it’s still being addressed because of the new development that has arisen,” Coloma said.

He said the DFA would state the position of the government before the US and “our position is that justice must be served and we would like to be able to protect the interest, the national interest of the Philippines and its citizens.”

On calls for the abrogation of the VFA, Coloma said: “We recognize the right of Congress to pursue such initiative as the legislature is a separate and co-equal branch.”

Coloma said the VFA is part of the government’s defense initiative taken for the sake of national interest.

Abrogate now

For militant lawmakers belonging to the Makabayan bloc, the killing of Laude was enough justification for the abrogation of the VFA.

Representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna, Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis, Antonio Tinio of Alliance of Concerned Teachers, and Terry Ridon of Kabataan signed a resolution demanding the repeal of the agreement.

Colmenares and his colleagues said the failure of the government to arrest Pemberton and detain him was “a big slap on the face of the Filipino nation and downright revolting.”

“This incident proves once again the one-sided, pro-US and anti-Filipino character of the VFA and highlighted the patently onerous provisions of the VFA on the custody of erring US troops, prescription of criminal prosecution and waiver of jurisdiction that essentially grant immunity from prosecution to US military personnel who commit crimes against Filipinos, effectively denying justice for the victims and all Filipinos,” they said.

They said that aside from the Laude killing and the Nicole case, US soldiers’ involvement in combat operations against Islamic terrorists had highlighted flaws in the VFA.

“The VFA has been widely and rightfully criticized as an onerous agreement that has paved the way for the permanent presence of US troops in the country under the guise of year-round military exercises and training,” they added.

They pointed out that the VFA is not valid and binding on the US since the US Senate has not ratified it, despite its ratification by the Philippine Senate in 1999.

There is thus a need for Congress to ask President Aquino to terminate the VFA.

The agreement provides that it will expire 180 days after either party serves a notice of termination in writing.

At least two senators – Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Francis Escudero – called separately for a review of the VFA after Laude’s killing.

Santiago, chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, said she would conduct an inquiry into the case on Oct. 22, two days after the resumption of Senate session next week.

The senator said the timing of the alleged crime was horrendous, because it came just after the joint military exercises between the two countries, and just before American and Filipino military leaders met last Tuesday for discussions on the new EDCA.

She also acknowledged that a review of the VFA might not be easy at this time for the Philippines, which is currently locked in a territorial dispute with China.

Santiago warned the Aquino administration to brace for tough negotiations with US officials on the matter, especially if it wanted to insist on automatic jurisdiction of criminal cases committed in the Philippines.

Not so fast

While Santiago was pushing for the abrogation of the VFA, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV was calling on his colleagues to give it another try, citing national interest.

“I will support the initiative (to investigate the case) so that the Filipino would see that we are out to protect the rights of our countrymen and we’re out for justice also for the victim,” said Trillanes, vice chairman of the legislative oversight committee on the VFA.

Trillanes said that based on his understanding, the objective of the Oct. 22 hearing is to look into the circumstances that led to the death of Laude.

Trillanes said that the provisions of the treaty were clear as far as jurisdiction and custody in criminal cases involving American troops are concerned.

He pointed out that the Philippine government can request the Americans for custody of the suspect as part of the VFA.

However, he said the VFA also provides that the detention facility where the suspect would be placed should be acceptable to both the US and the Philippines.

Trillanes said that this is where the problem lies because there is no facility in the country right now that would live up to the standards of the United States.

Overall, he said the VFA has been beneficial to the country and should be retained.

“I believe it is in the best interests of the country that we continue with the VFA. However, we must still look after the rights of our fellowmen who are victims in such incidents,” he said.

Keep VFA, DFA says

For the DFA, Laude’s death was no justification for the abrogation of the VFA.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose also denied allegations that the Philippine government is going “soft” on Pemberton.

He said the defense pact is not a failure because it gives the Philippines criminal jurisdiction over cases involving US military personnel.

“We’re pursuing justice in accordance with the provisions of the VFA and the provision of the VFA is the US has physical custody while we have criminal jurisdiction,” Jose told reporters.

The DFA earlier said the Philippines would insist on getting custody of Pemberton after the filing of charges against the American serviceman.

He said what’s important is the US should make Pemberton available whenever he is needed for “investigative and judicial proceedings.”

“We’re clear about criminal jurisdiction. He will be tried under Philippine laws in a Philippine court,” he added.

He said that while the DFA respects the views against the VFA as well as calls for its scrapping, the public should realize that the agreement did not fail in the case of Smith, who was tried and convicted under Philippine laws.

He said the victim recanted her statements that Smith raped her. “So it’s not the failure of the VFA,” he said.

“We should bear in mind that if there’s no VFA maybe we won’t even have jurisdiction over this case,” he said. With Christina Mendez, Jess Diaz, MarvinSy

FROM THE INQUIRER

Laude slay more than gender hate crime, also issue of US soldiers' ‘special treatment’ under VFA—UP prof By Marc Jayson Cayabyab |INQUIRER.net8:20 pm | Wednesday, October 15th, 2014


Members of the LGBT community, LFS , Gabriela and other cause-oriented group stage an indignation rally at the US Embassy. The groups condemned Tuesday the killing of the Filipino transgender Jaime “Jennifer” Laude and call on the government to assert the Philippine’s jurisdiction over the crime. JOAN BONDOC

MANILA, Philippines—The killing of Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude allegedly at the hands of a US Marine is more than a gender hate crime; it is also about the unequal agreements with the United States that serve to protect their soldiers while on alien soil, a UP Manila professor said on Wednesday.

Prof. Roland Simbulan of the UP Manila Development Studies and Public Management Department cited the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the newly signed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca).

The two agreements are related, Simbulan said, while the VFA allows US troops visitation powers despite the absence of their own military bases in the country, Edca allows US to set up their own temporary facilities for the increased American troops’ rotational presence.

These agreements serve to protect American troops in case they commit a crime in another country, Simbulan said.

“These agreements give special treatment to the US forces… By giving them special treatment, they’re able to get away with it,” said Simbulan, known for his books echoing anti-American military bases sentiment.

On Saturday, Laude together with a male foreigner checked in at the Celzone Lodge. She was found lifeless on the floor hours later and was believed to have been strangled to death.

The suspect, identified as Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, is held onboard the USS Peleliu while a joint Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Philippine National Police investigation is ongoing.

Simbulan said a crime like murder normally would be subjected under the country’s laws. But with the VFA, a sense of special treatment is granted to the US soldier, he added.

* The VFA gives the Philippines jurisdiction over US troops who commit crimes in the country not linked to their official duties. But it also says custody over the Americans remain with the US government except on “extraordinary cases.”

“These issues will all the more highlight the one-sidedness of the agreements we’ve entered,” said the professor, who is also a senior fellow in the Center for People Empowerment in Governance.

Simbulan said Laude’s murder should not be seen as a gender hate crime alone.

He said highlighting Laude’s gender identity shifts the focus on the liability from the suspect to the victim.

“It might be seen as a justification. It’s hinting as if the motive for killing was that the Marine was deceived by the transgender,” Simbulan said in Filipino.

“A human being was killed. We shouldn’t even be talking about sexual preference. She’s a victim,” he added.

Simbulan lamented that such heinous crimes may persist if the unequal relations between the country and the US in terms of military presence remain unresolved.

“It will keep on recurring. There will be more presence of US forces here interacting with our population. These cases, you can expect them to multiply,” he said.

Simbulan is the husband of deceased UP professor and Vera Files trustee Chit Estella-Simbulan, who was killed after a bus rammed a taxi she was riding on Commonwealth Avenue.

This is not the first time a US soldier was accused of a crime while in service in the country.

US Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith was accused in the Subic rape case and convicted by a lower court to 40 years imprisonment but an appeals court reversed the verdict after the victim retracted her statement.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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