Global alliance of overseas Filipinos Migrante International joins other sectors in calling for justice for the brutal murder of transgender Filipina Jennifer Laude.
According to Mic Catuira, Migrante International spokesperson, Laude’s heinous murder is a blatant reminder of the numerous crimes committed by US troops against Filipinos and how the Philippine government would opt to turn a blind eye on justice just to protect US interests.
Catuira said that Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton of the US Marine, the prime suspect in Laude’s murder, should not be allowed to enjoy the same fate as US Lance Corporal Daniel Smith of the Subic rape case. Smith was not tried in Philippine courts because, under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the US acquires automatic jurisdiction over its troops.
“Laude’s case once again underlines the one-sidedness of the VFA and reinforces how the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) cis designed to further protect US troops from being prosecuted and punished for crimes against the Filipino people,” Catuira said.
He slammed the Philippine government for “being too quick to defend the VFA and EDCA” despite public clamor for justice for Laude. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Malacanang recently issued separate statements saying that the BS Aquino government stands by VFA and EDCA and that “it will not be deterred” by the crime.
“Tunay na nakakagalit ang pusisyong ito ng gobyerno. We call on all Filipinos around the world to intensify calls to scrap the VFA and EDCA and call for the expulsion of US troops from Philippine soil. We enjoin all freedom-loving Filipinos and human rights advocates around the world to exert pressure on the BS Aquino government to acquire jurisdiction over Pemberton so that justice may served,” he said.
“We especially call on our Filipino compatriots in the US to demand that US Pres. Obama relinquish jurisdiction over Pemberton so that he may tried and prosecuted in the Philippines,” he said.
Catuira also said the Laude’s brutal murder should also serve as an eye-opener to the general public on the rights of the LGBT sector.
Caturia, a transgender male, said that he felt saddened upon reading vicious comments and sentiments in social networking sites that prey on Laude’s gender. “Let us stop the hate and unite for justice. Now is the time to open our eyes and minds and not blame the victim just because of her gender.”
He called on all all LGBT Filipinos in the Philippines and around the world to unite for justice for Laude and to call for the scrapping of the VFA and EDCA. ###