‘We’re hurt,’ we’ve to fight for Laude’s ‘rights and justice’—AFP chief
Video by ASSOCIATED PRESS/edited by INQUIRER.net
MANILA, Philippines—The “unfortunate” death of a Filipino transgender that allegedly involved an American Marine would not affect the relations between the United States and the Philippines, the top brass of the Philippine military said.
But Armed Forces chief Gregorio Pio Catapang admitted Tuesday that the AFP was bothered with the death of Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, especially that it happened to a fellow Filipino.
“[We] are hurt because this is a fellow Filipino who was killed, regardless of gender,” Catapang said. “He is still a Filipino and we have to fight for his rights and for justice.”
Still, Catapang said that the incident was an isolated case.
“This would not affect our relationship with the US, as this happened during an administrative break of the American soldiers [participating in the Amphibious Landing Exercise (Phiblex)15 in Zambales],” Catapang said.
Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton from US Marine Corps 2nd Battalion 9th Marines assigned at West Pace Express was tagged as suspect in the killing of Laude in Olongapo City on Saturday.
“First of all we regret the incident and we want to assure everybody we are supporting whatever the investigation would conclude upon,” Catapang said.
The AFP Chief added that Admiral Samuel Locklear, the Commander of the US Pacific Command, wanted to express his sympathy to the family of Laude.
Locklear is in the country for the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board meeting between the AFP and the United States Armed Forces.
The American Admiral told Catapang that all US ships that participated in Phiblex are ordered not to leave port.