US grounds military ships in PHL until probe on slay of Pinoy transgender is over

By , on October 13, 2014


Photo courtesy of Jeffrey 'Jennifer' Laude's Facebook account
Photo courtesy of Jeffrey ‘Jennifer’ Laude’s Facebook account

MANILA -– US military vessels will not be allowed to leave the country until the investigation on the killing of a Filipino transgender has been concluded, a senior Palace adviser said on Monday.

Ret. Gen. Eduardo Oban, Executive Director of the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFACOM), said the order was issued by US Pacific Commander Samuel Locklear.

“The Pacific Commander ordered that no US ships will leave the Philippines until we are done with the investigation,” Oban told reporters.

Oban said the Philippine side is not discounting the possibility that an American serviceman may be involved in the crime.

“This is a possibility. We’re open for all possibilities,” Oban said, adding the suspect is among the thousands of the US military troops who were in the Philippines from late September to October 10 for a joint military training with their Filipino counterparts in Zambales.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), for its part, vowed to seek justice for Jeffrey Laude, who was found dead inside a motel in Olongapo City. He was last seen with a male foreign companion, according to reports.

“We are awaiting the results of the investigation and we are committed to do our part to ensure that justice is served,” said DFA spokesman Charles Jose.

US troops are allowed to train in the Philippines with their Filipino counterparts under the Visiting Forces Agreement, a military pact entered into by Manila and Washington in 1999.