By Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News
MANILA — For the second straight week, the presentation of the first defense witness in the murder trial of US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton was again postponed.
Lisa Pemberton, the mother of accused US Marine, was supposed to be presented today in court but she did not show up.
This dismayed Julita Laude, the mother of slain transgender Jennifer Laude.
Lawyers from both sides accused each other for the delay.
Atty. Harry Roque, private lawyer for the Laude family, accused defense lawyers of employing dilatory tactics so that the one-year prescriptive period in hearing cases under the Visiting Forces Agreement would expire.
However, Atty. Rowena Flores Garcia, lead defense lawyer, said the delay was because the prosecution filed a motion for reconsideration on the rejection of Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde of some important pieces of evidence submitted by the prosecution.
She said the defense can only present a witness and evidence after the judge has ruled on the motion for reconsideration.
Garcia added that they are also studying the possibility of filing a demurrer to evidence. This means that they will no longer present evidence since they believe that the prosecution’s evidence is weak and not enough to convict Pemberton.
Olongapo City Prosecutor Emilie Fe de los Santos earlier said the rejection of the crucial pieces of evidence puts the murder case of Pemberton at risk of being downgraded to homicide.
According to Delos Santos, despite the delays in the defense’s presentation of evidence, she is still optimistic that the trial will be finished within one year.
She said based on the schedule, the defense has until September to present their evidence. Delos Santos said that as soon as the judge rules on their two motions, only then can the defense present its witness.
The prosecution is asking the court to reconsider its order rejecting the evidence against Pemberton. It is also asking for a clarification on the court’s position on the testimonies and laboratory report pertaining to the condom wrapper found at the crime scene.