Murder complaint filed vs US Marine in Olongapo

MANILA, Philippines – The family of slain transgender woman Jennifer Laude filed a murder complaint on Wednesday, October 15, against a US Marine suspected of killing her.

Marilou Laude, elder sister of Jennifer Laude, served as the principal complainant against US Marine 1st Class Joseph Scott Pemberton before the prosecutor's office in Olongapo City.

The city prosecutor will determine if there's enough prima facie evidence to file murder charges against Pemberton in court.

The elder Laude was accompanied by lawyer Harry Roque, Olongapo City PNP P/Chief Inspector Gil Domingo ng Station 3, Chief investigator SPO3 Tyron Tecson and Inspector Nasser Abdurasul at around 4:50pm at the Olongapo City justice hall.

Pemberton had been positively identified by witnesses who said the American soldier was the last person seen with Laude when she was found dead in a bathroom at Celzone Lodge on Saturday, October 11.

Pemberton is currently under US custody, but the Philippines has sought to get the American soldier under its custody.

In an interview on GMA7, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Assistant Secretary Charles Jose said the Philippines will soon send a diplomatic note requesting custody over Pemberton.

"Isusunod na natin iyon dahil isasampa na ang formal charge. We will follow that up with a formal request, for the US to waive custody over the suspect," he said.

He added that the murder case is not expected to cast a negative effect on the relations between the two countries.

"We don't expect that this will have a negative effect on the relations between the Philippines and the US. Up to now, we can see that the US side is firmly committed to cooperate fully with us," Jose said.

Earlier, the US Embassy vowed to work with the Philippine National Police in the investigation. 

Malacañang also vowed there would be no whitewash in the probe. – with reports from Randy Datu/Rappler.com