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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pemberton Still Consulting Lawyers if He Should Appear Before Olongapo Fiscal

Whether or not Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton will appear tomorrow for the preliminary investigation in the murder charges filed against him for the death of a Filipino transgender woman is a decision that he will make in consultation with Philippine legal counsel and in accordance with Philippine law.
This was disclosed by the United States Embassy in Manila in a statement issued yesterday as it also reported that the four other US Marines who were issued subpoenas last Friday will not appear on Oct. 21 as they have already met their current legal obligations.
Under the subpoena, Pemberton has been ordered to appear before the Olongapo City Prosecutor’s Office tomorrow to answer charges that he killed transgender Filipina Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude in an Olongapo motel last Oct. 11.
However,the US Embassy stressed that, in accordance with the US-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), these witnesses will be made available for the trial.
According to the embassy, the Olongapo City Prosecutor’s Office met with the four witnesses and swore them to their statements in accordance with Philippine law.
It said this already satisfied the requirements of the City Prosecutor and the “make available” language of the VFA.
This developed as Malacanang assured that the government is focused on seeking justice for the killing of Laude.
Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. affirmed that the government would exhaust all legal processes to hold the person behind the murder of Laude accountable
“Determinado ang ating pamahalaan na makamit ang hustisya sa pagkamatay ni Jeffrey or Jennifer Laude. Ang ating pamahalaan at ang pamahalaan ng Estados Unidos ay nagkakasundo at nagkakaisa sa layunin na matamo ang hustisya hinggil dito [The government is determined to attain justice for the death of Jeffrey or Jennifer Laude. The governments of the Philippines and the United States have agreed with the objective to ensure justice will be served],” Coloma said over government radio.
In its statement, the US embassy reiterated that the US government will continue to fully cooperate and collaborate with Philippine authorities in all aspects of the case concerning the death of Laude.
Last Friday, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs Ed de Vega and Senior State Prosecutor Emily Fe Delos Santos, head of the special investigating team of the Olongapo Prosecutor’s Office, personally delivered the subpoena, together with a copy of the complaint, at the US Embassy in Manila.
“The DFA is committed to working with other government agencies in the pursuit of justice,” said Jose.
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