MANILA — While emphasizing that it will do everything to cooperate with the Philippine government on all aspects of the case concerning the death of transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, the United States Embassy in Manila said on Sunday that it is the decision of US Marine Corps Pvt. Joseph Scott Pemberton on whether to appear on Tuesday’s court proceedings.
“Whether the suspect will appear on Tuesday is a decision that he will make in consultation with his Philippine legal counsel, in accordance with Philippine law. We refer you to his counsel for details,” the embassy said in a statement.
Laude was strangled to death allegedly by Pemberton last Oct. 11, a day after the conclusion of the Amphibious Landing Exercise 15 which started on Sept. 29.
Last week, Olongapo City Prosecutors met with four witnesses and swore them to their statements in accordance with Philippine law, satisfying the requirements of the City Prosecutor and the “make available” language of the US–Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement.
“The witnesses will not appear on Tuesday, as they have already met their current legal obligations. In accordance with the VFA, the witnesses will be made available for the trial,” the US Embassy said.