De Lima admonishes Laude lawyer: ‘Leave prosecutor alone’

By on December 7, 2014

US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton (left) and Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude
US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton (left) and Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude

MANILA, Philippines— Harry Roque has been warned by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to be mindful of his words when publicly speaking about State Prosecutor Emilie Fe Delos Santos, who Roque had earlier accused of being “biased” in the case of Jennifer Laude.

The head of the DOJ chided Roque for his accusations that De Los Santos was biased in her decisions concerning the case, saying that the former had no evidence to support his allegations against the latter.

“Atty. Harry should be careful in insinuating unfairness on DOJ’s (Department of Justice) part and imputing bias or partiality on the part of [Delos Santos] without clear and sufficient basis to back up such claims,” De Lima said in a statement.

“Publicly hurling accusations against [Delos Santos], which are at best sweeping, might be misconstrued as attempts to pressure [her] and/or influence the outcome of the case, hence, unethical,” she added.

Delos Santos is the Olongapo city prosecutor at the helm of the initial probe into the murder charges against US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton in the killing of transgender woman Laude on October 11.

Roque had earlier accused Delos Santos as being pro-American, as well as “antagonistic” to the Laude family’s counsel. As such, he said that he would seek that the prosecutor be disqualified from the case.

De Lima said that Delos Santos “should be left alone” to resolve the merits of the case.