Jennifer Laude murder case suspended

By Acor Arceo

It was like an early Christmas present for the family of slain transgender woman Jennifer Laude, when prosecution filed murder charges against US Marine Joseph Pemberton last December 15.

But just over a week later, setbacks for the Laude family.

The Olongapo regional trial court has suspended proceedings for up to 60 days on the request of the Pemberton camp. They want the Justice Department to first review the finding of probably cause against the American.

The Laude camp fears this could delay proceedings, given that the case must be resolved within a year, as stated in the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

That’s a December 14, 2015 deadline.

“Nagkakaron tuloy ako ng parang sense na panic nab aka hindi matapos yung ebidensiya in one year’s time, at baka lumakad si Pemberton,” said Harry Roque, the Laude family’s lawyer. “Ang alinlangan ko ay dahil marami din sa mga tetestigo ay mga Amerikanong Marino na ngayon ay wala sa Pilipinas, at hindi naman natin alam kung kalian sila makakarating para mag-testigo.”

Rogue says they will file a motion for reconsideration on the suspension right after Christmas break on January 5, as well as one that would seek the inhibition of the judge handling the case, Roline Ginez-Jabalde.

The judge was a classmate of Pemberton’s lawyer, Rowena Garcia-Flores.

“Sila’y grumaduate nung 1989 sa San Beda College of Law,” said Harry Roque. “”Kapag ika’y magkasama sa law school ng apat na taon ay talagang matindi yung samahan. … Ang iniiwasan ko yung intriga, yung intriga na baka magkaron ng agam-agam nga na hindi patas yung concern sa biktima na namatayan na nga, naguguluhan pa sila baka hindi nila makamit ang katarungan.”

Earlier, the court also rejected the Laude family’s motions for live media coverage of the hearings, and to transfer Pemberton to a regular jail.

So how is the family doing this holiday season?

“Natuwa sila nang naisampa ang kasong murder, kasi ang alinlangan nila, baka isampa lamang ay homicide,” said Roque. “Pero just when natutuwa sila sa kasong murder ay sunod-sunod na nga itong mga pangyayari na napakabilis ‘no.”

What would make the Laude family happy this Christmas are clear signs the government is on their side.

One Comment

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  • Delia
    25 December 2014 at 11:54 am - Reply

    No matter how the Lawyer fight for this case, it wont get any merit. Petition they are filling was all junked . The DOJ must dismissed the case instead of suspension. DOJ has nothing to investigate , the transgender person recruited hes/her own death. The intent of the transgender was to decieve , insult the musculinity of the man and robbed his wallet.

    Too bad ,the intent by the perpetrator transgender was unsuccessful.