Dec 152014

The murder case of transgender woman Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude is a case test on how the Philippine justice system would respond to crimes against the members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

Thus, said various LGBT groups on Monday after the Olongapo City Prosecutors Office filed a murder charge against US Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton.
“This case is a litmus test for our judicial process, whether it can ensure fair, transparent, and independent investigation and trial not just for Jennifer’s killing, but also for other instances of violence and discrimination experienced by Filipino LGBTs,” LGBT rights groups said in a statement.

The statement was signed by representatives of UP Babaylan, CURLS Cebu, Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP), Gayon Albay, TLF Share Inc., Babaylanes Inc., and AKBAYAN LGBT Collective. 

The groups Gender and Development Advocates (GANDA) Filipinas, Outrage Magazine, Task Force Pride, Rainbow Rights Philippines, University of the Philippines Diliman Student Council also signed the statement. 

While members of the LGBT welcome the murder case, they said it should not only be a case test for the Philippine-US military agreement or the Visiting Forces Agreement.

“Justice in this particular case cannot simply be limited to putting the perpetrator behind bars,  or to an overhaul of Philippine-US military agreement,” it read.

On October 11, Jennifer, 26, was found dead inside a motel bathroom after succumbing to asphyxia due to drowning. According to witnesses, Pemberton was the last person she was seen with. 

The groups said policies should be put in place to protect the LGBT rights and to prevent commission of violence against them. 

“We shall also continue engaging the government to prevent similar injustices committed to other members of our community whose rights and dignity are and have been and will be violated because of how they identify and express themselves, who they choose to love, and for simply who they are,” they said.

“This judicial process should promise that marginalized communities are not denied redress, but this case underscores fundamental questions that determine whether our law enforcement and judicial system can address violence and discrimination against LGBTs,” they added. —NB, GMA News

 Leave a Reply