MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Lawyers of the slain transgender Filipino woman Jennifer Laude said they will consider to file charges against security personnel of convict US Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton if they continue to resist transferring the American soldier to the national penitentiary.
One of the legal counsels of Laude family, Atty. Harry Roque, raised the possibility of filing a case against security personnels, saying that Pemberton’s detention in the Joint US Military Assistance Group (Jusmag) compound in Camp Aguinaldo is a sign of “disobedience of a local court order,” wherein the Olongapo Court originally ordered Pemberton to be detained at the New Bilibid Prison.
On a hearing last Tuesday, Olongapo court sentenced Pemberton between six to twelve years in prison at the national penitentiary for killing Laude, but the US security personnel refused to turn him over to the police, while his lawyers quickly filed a motion asking the court where he should be detained under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
The Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement, the Department of Justice (DOJ), the PNP and the US Embassy issued a 5-day memorandum of agreement on where Pemberton should be detained, as ruled by the court. It also ordered that he will be detained at Jusmag compound in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City for the meantime.
Roque said their camp will wait until the submission of the MOA, and said they’re mulling charges if they don’t turn over Pemberton’s custody. And added that they’ll also include the guards in the charges in refusing to comply with local orders.
Roque, together with other lawyers of the Laude family are studying all the legal options including the possible appeal on homicide verdict.