De Lima: Will Jennifer Laude’s real lawyer please stand up?
MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Leila De Lima urged the family of slain transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude to clarify who among their lawyers represent their interest.
De Lima issued the statement after hearing another lawyer of the family expressed satisfaction over Olongapo City Prosecutor Emilie Fe De Los Santos’ way of handling the case against suspect US Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton.
Earlier, the Laude family’s lead counsel Harry Roque publicly criticized the panel chaired by Delos Santos for alleged bias in favor of respondent Pemberton and sought for her inhibition in the resolution of the preliminary investigation.
“I read somewhere that another lawyer of the Laude family reportedly expressed his/her satisfaction about the progress of the case at the PI level. And yet, here’s Attorney Roque adopting an opposite stance, i.e., in an attack mode against CP Millet. So, which is which?” she said in a text message to reporters.
“I think there’s need for the Laude family to clarify who among these lawyers are truly representing their interests,” she said adding that she was puzzled by Roque’s criticisms.
“Atty. Harry keeps on mentioning such plan of his only thru media. And he reacts negatively whenever the DOJ issues any comment or statement in response to his own public statements. I don’t get him,” she lamented.
Earlier, De Lima cautioned Roque from issuing statements appearing like he was pressuring the prosecutors.
She said Roque’s insinuations “might be misconstrued as attempts to pressure (Delos Santos) and/or influence the outcome of the case, hence, unethical.”
De Lima added that the allegations of being bias against the prosecutor so far are “without clear and sufficient basis to back up such claims.”
She told him to just leave the prosecutors alone, especially since the preliminary investigation is already submitted for resolution.
“On the part of the DOJ, we always see to it that we dispose of our cases based purely on their merits – uninfluenced by external pressures, improper motives and/or peripheral considerations such as political or ideological propaganda,” she assured.
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