Jennifer Laude: May He Rest in Peace

Protesters, mostly supporters of LGBT (Lesbians,Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders), hold lit candles and display messages to demand justice in the killing of a Filipino transgender Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude, with a U.S. Marine as a possible suspect Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014 in Manila, Philippines. Dozens of activists burned a mock U.S. flag as they protested at the U.S. Embassy in Manila on Tuesday, demanding that Washington hand over to the Philippines a U.S. Marine suspected in the killing of a transgender Filipino that the demonstrators labeled a hate crime. (Bullit Marquez, AP / AP) (Photo from timesunion.com)

“Protesters, mostly supporters of LGBT (Lesbians,Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders), hold lit candles and display messages to demand justice in the killing of a Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, with a U.S. Marine as a possible suspect Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014 in Manila, Philippines. Dozens of activists burned a mock U.S. flag as they protested at the U.S. Embassy in Manila on Tuesday, demanding that Washington hand over to the Philippines a U.S. Marine suspected in the killing of a transgender Filipino that the demonstrators labeled a hate crime. (Bullit Marquez, AP / AP)” (Photo and caption from timesunion.com)

Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, 26, was found dead and naked with his “head resting on the rim of a toilet bowl.” He, according to investigators, was beaten and strangled. The suspect is a US Marine identified as First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton (currently held on board the ship USS Peleliu, docked in Subic Bay). According to hotel personnel, Laude and Pemberton checked in at Celzone Lodge, Olongapo City (October 13, 2014) around 10:45 – 10:55 PM, with the suspect leaving the lodge at around 11:30 PM. By count, they stayed together in a span of 45 minutes. The hotel cashier Elias Galamos “said that the door of the room was left ajar when he came to check after the suspect had left.”

Today is Wednesday, October 15, and the crime happened on Monday evening. The LGBT and other militant groups have just stormed the US Embassy for what they have understood as “hate crime” against Jeffrey Laude. They mobilize very quickly, indeed. These happened even though investigators are still looking at two angles: first, is that Pemberton must have found out that “Jennifer” was a man; second, let us just call him Jeffrey, that he, Jeffrey, tried to steal from the American Pemberton. The LGBT and other militant groups, by ranting and raving in front of the US Embassy, were rest assured that Laude’s death was out of the first angle. By discounting the possibility that Jeffrey might have attempted to steal from Pemberton, they have preempted justice. All because Jeffrey Laude was a transgender.

But who would not like to take the first angle? Stealing from an American soldier and being killed for it, lacks depth, passion and force for one to strangle, beat and push one’s neck onto the rim of the toilet bowl. Beating was enough, the American soldier need not go to the police, after all, he is an American soldier under a Visiting Forces Agreement (VFACom). But what drove the soldier to exert so much effort in order to kill an untrained civilian? It must be because he was duped to desire a man.

If we were to believe the first angle, that Pemberton discovered Jeffrey was a transgender, by all circumstances, why would the headlines on broadsheets say that Pemberton is suspect of murder? Hindi ba pwede homicide muna? According to the report, Jeffrey’s companion, Mark Clarence “Barbie” Gelviro, 32, said “he (Gelviro) and Laude met the soldier at Ambyanz Disco bar on Magsaysay Drive.” Later on Laude asked Gelviro to leave “as the suspect might discover they were gays.” The account simply says that Pemberton and Laude only met for the first time. Murder as premeditated killing is really out of the question, unless Pemberton is a serial killer of gays and transgenders. To put it simply, it is a crime out of passion. If we will follow the arguments the LGBT community is so convinced of, I think labeling the death of Jeffrey as “hate crime” is too arbitrary. It is arbitrary. Gelviro’s account implies that Laude (may you rest in peace) is aware and intent of deceiving Pemberton into believing that he is a woman. Pemberton was lied to. I am not here justifying Pemberton’s killing of Jeffrey Laude, he ought to act “honorably” as a soldier, and he ought to go to jail for that, but it does not make it a “hate crime.” He is an American in the first place, transgenders, gays, bisexuals, lesbians must have been an everyday reality for him. Has he a record of beating and killing transgenders in his place? That would qualify as “hate crimes” since violence is specifically targeted to certain groups. Given the openness of American society, it must have meant a lot to him to choose women as sexual partners. And he did so (probably) for the rest of his life. So being lied to, and having an intimate contact with someone whom he consciously did not prefer to have intercourse with, even in his native place, must have violated his sense of identity.

There are a lot of issues being drawn into Pemberton-Laude case, but to start a US – Philippine relation argument based on a crime which is of an entirely different nature is fickle. What is LGBT really fighting for? Is it not the culture which brought Jeffrey into his own death also the culture being fostered and propagated by the LGBT community? Perhaps he lied to Pemberton in the privacy and comfort of a hotel room, but perhaps too, from a different angle, that Laude was a also a victim of a lie that the LGBT community made him believe that he will have a good life by pretending to be a woman. But did not Laude tell Gelviro to leave because Pemberton might find out they were men?

Jeffrey, poverty, corruption, questionable ideals. Yes you are a victim. May God bless your soul.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Jennifer Laude: May He Rest in Peace

  1. This case might still qualify for murder, not on the grounds that it was pre-meditated because obviously it was not, but on the grounds that there might have existed “abuse of superior strength to ensure the execution and success of the crime”.

    Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code enumerates the qualifying circumstances that constitute murder and first of these is: with treachery, taking advantage of superior strength, with the aid or armed men, or employing means to weaken the defense or of means or persons to insure or afford impunity.

    In a related case (G.R. No. 175315, People vs. Beduya), the Supreme Court described “Abuse of superior strength is present whenever there is a notorious inequality of forces between the victim and the aggressor, assuming a situation of superiority of strength notoriously advantageous for the aggressor selected or taken advantage of by him in the commission of the crime.”… “To take advantage of superior strength means to purposely use excessive force out of proportion to the means of defense available to the person attacked.” The appreciation of this aggravating circumstance depends on the age, size, and strength of the parties.”

    This now depends on the ability of the prosecution lawyers to argue and prove that abuse of superior strength existed during the conduct of the crime.

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