By Priam F. Nepomuceno
MANILA, Oct. 14 (PNA) — Armed Forces chief-of-staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang on Tuesday said the homicide incident involving an American Marine and a Filipino transgender will not disrupt the relations between the US and the Philippines.
He added the incident was an isolated one and took place during an administrative break shortly after the conclusion of the Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) 15 last Oct. 10.
Jeffrey Laude alias “Jennifer” was allegedly choked to death last Oct. 11 by Marine Pvt. Joseph Scott Pemberton in Olongapo City, Zambales.
Pemberton is assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine, Camp Lajeune, North Carolina.
“First of all, we regret the incident and we want to assure everybody we are supporting whatever the investigation would conclude upon,” Catapang said.
He added that US Pacific Command head, Admiral Samuel Locklear III, who is in the Philippines for the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board meeting, expressed his sympathy toward the Laude family.
Catapang said all US ships — the USS Peleliu and the USS Germantown — are still not allowed to leave port.
The AFP chief also hopes that US military authorities will surrender Pemberton to Philippine authorities.
He added that the AFP was bothered with the death especially it happened to a fellow Filipino.
“We are bothered, we are hurt because this is a fellow Filipino who was killed, regardless of gender, he is still a Filipino and we have to fight for his rights and for justice,” Catapang stated. (PNA)