MANILA, Philippines — Human rights lawyer Harry Roque, lead counsel of killed Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, on Monday said that an ‘American spy’ has been following him around since he took the murder case last week.
“Since arriving in Olongapo on Wednesday, when we finished discussing the case with the [Laude] family and I started my own investigation, everywhere I went, there was an American man who was following me,” Roque told reporters in an interview last Friday.
Roque said he would notice the ‘spy’ in his whereabouts. He was certain that the man was an American and described him as having a muscular build and sporting a military haircut.
“I went to the [Olongapo] Fiscal’s Office, the American was there. I went to the police station, the American was there. I went to the house of one witness, he was also there,” Roque said. “Once I leave, I will see him there. Kaya napipikon ako eh (That’s why I’m getting annoyed)… He also talks to people I already talked to.”
Reporters told Roque that the American might just be a supporter.
“He’s not a fan. He did not ask for a selfie,” Roque jokingly said.
Roque believes he is being stalked, probably in an attempt to ‘check what evidence he has’ against Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, the US Marine suspect in the murder case.
The occurrence prompted him go to the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday to formally request for the placement of three witnesses – all of whom identified Pemberton to be the last person seen with Laude before she was killed – including the potential primary witness, ‘Barbie,’ under the DOJ’s Witness Protection Program.
“If the lawyer could be followed openly by an American, I’m sure they are already following the witnesses, and they (witnesses) might be intimidated by their (Americans) presence,” Roque said.
He has also planned to admit Laude’s entire family under the government’s security.
Roque said he hesitated to confront the supposed ‘spy’ after being dissuaded by his colleagues who fear further complications in the high-profile case.
The prominent lawyer filed a murder complaint before the Olongapo City Prosecutor’s office against Pemberton, who is being detained aboard US amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu docked at the Subic Bay free port.
Roque, a lawyer who has handled high-profile cases, is known for his opposition against the US-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement in 2006 at the height of the trial against US Marines allegedly involved in raping “Nicole,” another Filipino, in Pampanga.
With report from Cyra Moraleda