World Bulletin/News Desk
The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs said Thursday it will send a diplomatic note to the U.S. Embassy in Manila seeking custody of an American marine accused of killing a transgender Filipino woman.
Activists protesting the murder of Jeffrey Laude tried to march to the embassy and slowed traffic in the area Thursday, but were blocked by policemen with batons, radio station DZBB reported.
The diplomatic note seeks custody of Joseph Scott Pemberton.
The case threatens to reignite Philippine resentment at the perceived preferential treatment given to U.S. service personnel accused of crimes. According to the Visiting Forces Agreement, the U.S. can detain suspects in custody while Philippine criminal proceedings are ongoing, agreeing to produce them in court when necessary.
Laude, 26, was found dead in a hotel in Olongapo City, Zambales province, on Saturday. The suspect, from the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, has been detained aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu, the American embassy in Manila confirmed Tuesday.
Activists in the Philippines have called for the prosecution under local law of the U.S. marine.
Elmer Labog, chapter president of the International League of People's Struggle, said in a statement the U.S. serviceman suspected of killing Jeffrey Laude should be “in Philippine jail and not under U.S. custody on a U.S. warship. He should be prosecuted… and tried under Philippine laws."
In the past, the U.S. has pressured Philippine authorities to release U.S. forces personnel into American custody, Labog claimed. He cited Wikileaks revelations around the case of Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith, convicted of rape by a Philippine court in 2006 but held at the U.S. embassy against a judicial order. Smith was acquitted by a higher court in 2009.
Philippine police investigators said Pemberton met Laude - who also used the name Jennifer - at a bar before proceeding to an inn, where she was found lifeless in the toilet of a room.
A complaint for murder was filed against Pemberton before the Olongapo City Prosecutor's Office on Wednesday.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Ekim 2014, 12:23