How the VFA affects the Jennifer Laude murder case

The US State Department has rejected calls for US Marine suspect Joseph Scott Pemberton to be turned over to Philippine custody, in accordance with the Visiting Forces Agreement, or VFA.

Political science expert Professor Jay Gonzalez says the US has similar military agreements with about 100 countries all over the world, and the US almost always gets what it wants.

“The more powerful country, in this case, the US always gets the better end of the deal,” says Professor Gonzalez. “And one of the requirements in the agreement is for the US to keep custody of its servicemen embroiled in crimes.”

Gonzalez says the US is only trying to protect its own from local laws that may not reflect what is practiced in the US.

“The judicial system is so different in the Philippines. We have no jury system there,” says Gonzalez. “And so, the US is just making sure its servicemen are protected from possible loopholes.”

The US State Department assures the Philippines that if Pemberton is found guilty and convicted, he will definitely serve time in the Philippines.

But so far, no American soldier has ever served a full sentence in the Philippines.

“There will be appeals and rewards for good behavior,” continues Gonzalez. “The US government is representing Pemberton, like a lawyer does for its client – they will do what it takes to protect him.”

Gonzalez says the VFA has some provisions that are vague and prone to different interpretations, and therefore needs amendment – something that a number of lawmakers are calling for.

On the part of Philippine Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, the Philippines can always push its custody claim, considering that the Pemberton case is an extraordinary one and the rest of the world is watching on whether justice will really be granted in this controversial case.


5 Comments on this post.

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  • Mario
    19 December 2014 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    The American GI committed a crime,he should pay for it. However, the victim lied, he pretended as a woman. Most Marines, whether PH or US, believed on themselves, were indoctrinated as a matcho-men and they don’t want their ego to be insulted. The old Marine article of war manual says, Syphilis and AIDs are punishable by Court martial and automatic discharge from the military will follow if found guilty. Prostitute Gays and transgender,are known to be the source and carrier of Syphilis, gonorrhea and AIDs.

  • marina
    19 December 2014 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    Its true that marines are indoctrinated as a macho-men and insulted when they are betrayed. How this Laude lied to a military man. He is a gay and transgender but despite his lying he should not be murdered anyway.

  • JRB
    20 December 2014 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    Maybe when America military go to the Philippines they should be inform about that Philippines is a poor country and watch out the girls or boys they will do anything for money. It’s about time America educate there military men and woman.

  • Delia
    21 December 2014 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    I really dont see any point why BA keep posting this issue . Facts is Philippines needs USA . Philippines dont have strenght to defend its country , anytime anything happens to Philippines ,whos the country they cry too ? Non other than USA.

    The transgenders that was killed has provoked and enticed the murder for his/her own self. He/she was focus to either fool the man or robbed him his money, hoping the military guy is drunk as a skunk not knowing whats spinning on his mind. The provocateur transgender is 50% at fault and 50% to the military guy who fell for the bait..they equally did the crime .

    Transgender thought he/she hit the jackpot ,but little does he/she know she’s/he’s the one going six feet under . Alcohol, Drugs may also be the factor and contributor to the crime ,but again money , sex and greed is always the driver of evil. This event should be a lesson for people who has personal deficiency , you can fool people sometimes , but you cant fool people most of the time.

    • cat_idiot
      22 December 2014 at 4:50 pm - Reply

      …..well, on thing for sure, flesh trade is still around in that area even the bases are gone, akala ko ba bawal ang PROSTITUTION sa Pilipinas?