Rep. Biazon wants affidavits of 4 US Marine witnesses made public
MANILA, Philippines – A former military chief turned lawmaker said the affidavits of the four US Marine witnesses in the killing of transgender Jennifer Laude should be made public.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon said the statements of the four Americans who were reported to have left the country “may give us a better insight into the whole issue.”
“The public needs to know what are the contents of theses affidavits. I would assume that these were taken under oath [and] maybe the prosecutor has a copy,” Biazon said.
He added that these affidavits are public documents.
“Knowing it will help us put a whole picture of the issue. I’m not a lawyer but I think that is common sense. We need to know what are the contents of the affidavits of the four American witnesses,” he said.
Laude, whose real name was Jeffrey, checked in at the Celzone Lodge with a male foreigner. She was later found dead hours later and she was believed to be strangled to death.
The suspect, identified as Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, is held onboard the USS Peleliu while a joint Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Philippine National Police investigation is ongoing.
Laude’s slay roused criticisms on the VFA, which gives the Philippines jurisdiction over US troops who commit crimes in the country not linked to their official duties. But it also says custody over the Americans remain with the US government except on “extraordinary cases.”
This is not the first time a US soldier was accused of a crime while in service in the country.
US Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith was accused in the Subic rape case and was convicted by a lower court to 40 years imprisonment, but an appeals court reversed the verdict after the victim “Nicole” retracted her statement.
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