Dec 052014

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Friday warned the camp of slain transgender woman Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude against calling the prosecutor handling the case unfair and biased without basis.

De Lima reminded the Laude family and their legal counsel Harry Roque Jr that the murder complaint being handled by Olongapo City prosecutor Emily de los Santos has already been submitted for resolution.

“Attorney Harry should be careful in insinuating unfairness on DOJ’s part and imputing bias or partiality on the part of CP (city prosecutor) Millet (de los Santos)… without clear and sufficient basis to back up such claims,” she said.

“[De los Santos] should be left alone in resolving the merits of said case,” De Lima added.

Prosecutor General Claro Arellano had earlier said there was “no ground for [the] inhibition” of state prosecutor Emily de los Santos as requested by the Laude camp.

“No ground for inhibition. Bias [is a] mere allegation,” said Arellano.

Roque was earlier quoted in reports as saying that they would ask the DOJ to take De los Santos off the case for allegedly taking orders from the United States government.

Roque claimed De los Santos has been hostile to the Laude family since the start of the preliminary investigation in Olongapo City.

On Friday, De Lima said Arellano was merely reacting to media reports quoting Roque’s plan to move for De Los Santos’ inhibition from the case.

“Apparently, PG  (prosecutor general) did by making a general statement that there is no basis or reason to disqualify CP Millet. So, what’s wrong with that? Is Harry denying that he made such a public call for the recusement of CP Millet?,” said De Lima.

“Publicly hurling accusations against CP Millet, which are at best sweeping, might be misconstrued as attempts to pressure CP Millet and,or influence the outcome of the case, hence, unethical,” she added.

US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, who is facing a murder complaint over Laude’s death, is being held in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

The US Embassy in Manila, however, has said Pemberton is still under US custody despite being detained in a Philippine facility.  — JDS, GMA News

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