Settlement with Pemberton impossible–Laude family | Global News
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Settlement with Pemberton impossible–Laude family

By: - Correspondent / @amacatunoINQ
/ 05:51 AM September 02, 2015

OLONGAPO CITY, Philippines—The lawyers for the family of slain transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude said a settlement with the camp of accused US Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton was impossible now that both parties had rested their case.

Pemberton is facing a murder charge in Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 74 here for the death of Laude, whose body was found in a motel bathroom on Oct. 11 last year. Witnesses identified Pemberton as the man who was last seen with her as they checked into the motel.

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“Any settlement now is impossible, especially since both parties are done presenting their respective evidence,” said Virgie Lacsa Suarez, one of the Laude family’s lawyers, in a text message to the Inquirer on Monday.

Suarez said that since the start of the prosecution’s presentation of evidence on March 23, there had been no talk of a settlement.

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“There was only a discussion on a plea bargain as part of the pretrial early in February,” Suarez said.

She denied reports the family had demanded P38 million and six US visas to drop the case.

“There is simply no truth to that… maybe that’s what they (defense lawyers) want to offer [the family],” Suarez said.

She said she suspected Pemberton’s lawyers were “testing the waters” when they revealed the alleged offer.

“There is no truth to reports we will drop the case at anytime,” Suarez said.

City Chief Prosecutor Emilie Fe de los Santos said Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde scheduled the summation and submission of memorandums on Sept. 14.

De los Santos said a verdict is expected by Dec. 14, which is within the prescribed one-year period to finish court proceedings under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

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Lawyer Harry Roque Jr., the Laude family’s lead counsel, dubbed reports the family was open to a settlement a “PR ploy”by Pemberton’s camp.

He warned Pemberton’s lawyers not to approach the Laude family without the consent of their counsel.

“They should not even come close to my client, otherwise I will enforce the ethical prohibition of a trial and I will move for their disbarment for ethical breaches,” Roque told the Inquirer by phone on Monday.

Laude’s mother, Julita, has been adamant her family would not accept a settlement.

“It’s not money that could compensate for a life that was lost. No amount of money can replace the life of my child. Not even Pemberton’s life can replace Jennifer’s,” she had said during the trial.

In April, Laude’s relatives sought at least P200 million in moral and exemplary damages as the civil aspect of the case was tackled in Pemberton’s trial.

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TAGS: court, Crime, Harry Roque Jr., Jeffrey Laude, Jennifer Laude, Joseph Scott Pemberto, Laude family, murder, settlement, Virgie Lacsa-Suarez
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