US envoy to attend commemoration of Leyte landing as transgender slay case hovers
MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III and US Ambassador Philip Goldberg will both attend the anniversary celebration of an important World War II event on Monday but is unclear if they will discuss the murder of a Filipino transgender, allegedly perpetrated by a US Marine.
“Ang okasyon po ay ‘yung 70th anniversary ng Leyte Landing. Wala po tayong impormasyon hinggil sa inyong tinatanong,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told a reporter asking about the possibility over state-run Radyo ng Bayan.
(The occassion is the 70th anniversary of the Leyte Landing. We don’t have information pertaining to your question.)
Coloma said Goldberg was among the ambassadors to meet Aquino at the Leyte Landing memorial in Palo, where the allied forces, led by General Douglas McArthur, landed when they returned to the Philippines during World War II. Coloma said the historic event signalled the end Japanese occupation in the country.
He explained that the governments of the Philippines and the US have agreed to work together and seek justice for Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude.
He said the Department of Justice, through the City Prosecutor’s Office in Olongapo City, would lead the preliminary investigation while the Department of Foreign Affairs would assist in other legal processes, including the serving of the subpoena to US military personnel.
Witnesses accused Private 1st Class Joseph Scott Pemberton of killing Laude, who was found slumped over a toilet bowl in a lodge in Olongapo last October 11.
The US Embassy in Manila vowed to produce Pemberton, who is currently held on board the USS Peleliu. Under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), custody of an American soldier accused of violating Philippine laws remain with the US although criminal jurisdiction is with the Philippines.
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