No guarantee PH can get custody of US Marine in transgender slay—DFA
MANILA, Philippines – There is no guarantee that the United States (US) will hand over custody of Private first class Joseph Scott Pemberton who is the primary suspect in the killing of a Filipino transgender in Olongapo City.
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose said in a press conference Tuesday that, under the provisions of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), US automatically has custody of any of their personnel suspected of committing a crime.
“Under Article V, paragraph 6 of the VFA ‘The custody of any United States personnel over whom the Philippines is to exercise jurisdiction shall immediately reside with US military authorities, if they so request, from the commission of the offense until completion of all judicial proceedings’,” Jose said, citing the pertinent provision.
The Philippine government will request to the US to have custody of Pemberton, a US Marine, “but there is no guarantee they will grant it,” he said.
The Philippines, however, will have jurisdiction of the case and he will be tried in a Philippine court.
Pemberton had allegedly killed Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, 26, after both checked in at a hotel in Olongapo City late Saturday night.