Two reasons why the US should hold an accused murderer in US custody

Reason Number One

A Philippine judicial system that is not based on reason, but on emotion and political influence. The attorney for the victim’s relatives, one Harry Roque, intends to lead the family on a storming of the US ships docked in Subic if the U.S. does not turn the suspect over to the Philippines. Mr. Roque is leading the charge to convert a horrid personal tragedy into an international incident. I’d imagine that this is for political and personal gain. He is using the family’s grief, stoking it into popular rage, and greatly enlarging the incident. For what? For a huge American payoff which Roque shares? To influence the Supreme Court’s review of EDCA, where he leads the complainants?

Not to solve and try a crime. Calmly. Fact-based. Fairly. Ethically.

Not to give an “innocent until proven guilty” man his right to a fair trial.

Reason Number Two

If you were the parents of the accused, what would you say if your government turned your son over to this welcoming party?


Rappler headlined “Top Story” photo. Tried by mob. Convicted. Lynched if delivered . . .





100 Responses to “Two reasons why the US should hold an accused murderer in US custody”
  1. Pinoyputi says:

    You go terribly wrong here by letting national feelings go first. Your reaction is like the the Gabriela people on the picture, based on a emotion. The VFA, need to be changed. It is an unbalanced agreement between the big powerful country, at times bullying, and a small country in need of assistance. There are enough safeguards for the suspect to hold and judge in the proper decent way in a pilipino jail and court.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, that is the problem, isn’t it? Emotions beget emotions.

      The murder is one thing. It is a personal event between two people. This one is complicated by the transgender issue, and complicated by the fact that an American evidently did the killing. Murders occur in the Philippines daily. Filipinos murder Chinese, Aussies, Koreans, Americans and a whole lot of Filipinos. This one is being elevated to public rage by vested interests.

      My argument is, if the Philippines demonstrated emotional and political restraint, as one would expect in a court room, the U.S. would willingly turn over the suspect to Philippine custody under condition that he be held in a jail that meets international human rights standards. But the U.S. represents her citizens, and among them are the parents of the accused, and other servicemen who can read Rappler, too.

      The VFA is quite a different matter. It is a Philippine agreement as well as an American agreement. The Philippines gets a lot under the agreement, mainly training and assistance in natural disasters. It gives up a few things, but sovereignty is not one of them.That, too, is an emotional argument, the same one that was used in 1991 to boot Americans out.

      The Philippines only needs to help figure out what is a reasonable trade of gets and gives under the agreement. Certainly, you don’t expect the Philippines to be a beggar nation and only receive “gives” from the US? If one Philippine “give” is imprisonment on US property, and you take that away, what do you . . . as a negotiator . . . offer to offset that takeaway?

      • Joe America says:

        @pinoyputi, I recently wrote about the “sovereignty” matter:

        I would add, the US has been wholly cooperative in the investigation, holding ships in place and helping to identify the suspect. Trust and cooperation cuts two directions. This is not a bully at work.

      • manuel buencamino says:


        I think sovereignty was a legitimate issue in 1991. Clark and Subic were for all intents and purposes American, even if the Philippine flag flew over those bases and even if the nominal head or commander of those bases was Filipino. No need to go over the bases issue again, no need to reargue how they came to be. There are no more permanent US bases in the country. We can move on. VFA and EDCA are good because both parties can continue a defense relationship without bringing the issue of sovereignty into the picture again.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, that makes sense, for sure. Thanks for the refinement on the sovereignty issue in 1991. I’ll try to remember that, unless it is deemed necessary to forget it in order to win a particular argument. 🙂

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        In the Philippines, Precedence is the new normal. From Marcos to Aquino, precedenceial justice is the norm.

  2. Jake says:

    #3 under UMCJ, he could receive death penalty for the crime, whereas under Philippine law, he’ll probably have like 10 to 20 years sentence. And if his parents have money, they could just pay the family if the courts find him guilty


    If I were the family and want justice, I’d prefer him to be tried in the UCMJ. But as I understand, he can still be tried under PH law and while the case is not yet decides, the custody will be under the US state department

    On the other hand, does the US military not brief the young dudes that there are lot of ladyboys in the Philippines? Or at least in many Asian ports? Or did was this dude was not paying attention to briefings that he went to a gay bar looking for a female prostitute?

    I think the US military needs to screen better applicants. This behavior isn’t limited to troops visiting the Philippines. If you read, you’ll read every now and then about idiocy of some US servicemembers. Often times, fresh out of high school. Earlier this year, a US Army enlistee died when he got into brawl with Airforce enlistees in Korea. From time to time, there are anti US sentiments protests in Korea and Japan, too. Even in some bases in the mainland and US territories, they are appalled by the behavior of some service members.

    Maybe, anyone enlisting should serve first in the Peace Corpse.

    US Military members must remember that, when stationed overseas, they are diplomats, not “expats” so political issues are expected to arise so it’s not really comparable to an ordinary foreigner killing a local or a non political local killing a foreigner.

    Say if a Filipino who was awarded scholarship in West Point grotesquely rapes and kills a woman outside the academy, it will sure likely raise political issues, too. You will see people protesting against giving scholarship to non-Americans and to cut aid, relations, etc

    Which is why the mass shooting of a Canadian in Cebu and the recent killing by an expat of his wife didn’t spark any political process coz the suspects weren’t diplomats visiting the country. They were not here under government orders unlike military members.

    • Joe America says:

      That’s an excellent point about which court is likely to be harder on a murderer.

      As I understand the “reports” (could be hearsay), the American marine thought he was with a girl but discovered during the course of intimate engagements that he was not a girl. He went nuts. The portrayal of the crime as a “hate” crime is really a stretch. It would have been a hate crime had he known he was with a transgender and was out to clear the world of what he felt were misfits. No. He got tricked and reacted the way a lot of macho guys would have – no matter what nationality – just more violently.

      The US does instruct its troops on proper behavior but some emotional incidents trump intellectual grasp of the instructions.

      You are right, a lot of American troops are from what might be termed the underclass, not so well educated, volunteers all, many looking for work that pays well or the opportunity to be “a man”. The marines are among the hardest trained and toughest fighting troops.

      But statistics are statistics. You deal with hundreds of thousands of people, you have the out of the ordinary event. Just like the Philippines strives for “zero fatalities” during storms, nature does not cooperate. Human nature also does not always cooperate with American commanders who DO strive for good behavior among the troops.

      • Jake says:

        Yes, the “hate crime” is a stretch and political in nature and that it deviates from the real case.

        But I’m really scratching my head that this marine and his companions must have “accidentally” come across a gay bar and that when they were still sober, they didn’t activate their “gaydar”?

        If they knew that the place where one could pick up hookers, how come they didn’t catch that it was full of trans people?

        Maybe, during liberty, US servicemen should be at least accompanied by someone from the Philippine military so that they’ll have someone to help them identify the trans people or help them navigate social customs…like an “extended buddy system”

        On the other hand, just as appalling is the many internet comments by both Filipinos and Americans that the victim “deserved to die” for tricking the marine. That’s like saying that the marine deserved to be tricked because he was obviously looking for a “chick” to bang before departure.

  3. Jake says:

    I like to add too the sexual assault incidences in the military.What is the US military coming too? I wonder if the military is attracting the high school douchebags who can’t get a job or doesn’t want to attend college and shooing those who are really capable of leadership and service? The US military should be the epitome of discipline and service, not sleeziness, promiscuouity, murder and douchebaggery.

    • Joe America says:

      I think you have a misunderstanding of the US military, generalizing to the entire population from a few untoward incidents. Americans think very highly of their servicemen for they are rather like the firemen going up the World Trade Center towers as the towers were coming down. They put their lives on the line for those of us sitting in our comforts. There are hundreds of thousands of right-thinking, brave people serving their nation, as ordered. They deserve . . . and get . . . respect.

      Politicians, on the other hand . . .

      • Jake says:

        It is an observation…
        Sometimes, generalization is a must to get to the core problem

        Now that you mentioned Americans looking up to their military…I think one possibility is that there are people that look up to them sometimes at fault…like the marine was right to kill the transgender…

        Based on the comments I read online, I think this incidences are a symptom of something larger in the US society.

        While I commend the military for going about the right direction, many comments I have seen and read are parallel to the cases of Steubenville rape and the Saratoga rape and many lesser known rape cases. More bothersome about those two incidences is that in Steubenville, the rapists just got a slap in the wrist and were able to get back to the football team and in Saratoga, the school wasn’t as cooperative. I like to add in Steubenville, one CNN anchor (a lady unfortunately) said the poor rapists’ future has now been wrecked but there was no sympathy for the victim. In both cases, photos of the victims were circulated in the internet (which ironically brought shame to the victim and as evidence against the suspects).

        Just as Filipinos need to take a look at their society as a whole, Americans also need to.

        • Joe America says:

          Well, the US has its problems, for sure, and a breakdown of respects is among them. Poor care for veterans, tricks played by the leadership (not acknowledging old chemical weapons in Iraq, which sickened troops who cannot get proper medical care). Still, I imagine that if you were able to spend some time with an American combat unit, you would tend to put the aberrations in their own bucket, as aberrations. I’d guess you would walk the way most servicemen walk when they are done with their military service. With tremendous pride.

          If it were a sleazy business, they would not feel way.

        • Juana Pilipinas says:

          “Now that you mentioned Americans looking up to their military…I think one possibility is that there are people that look up to them sometimes at fault…like the marine was right to kill the transgender…”

          I am a Filipina married to a retired US military man. I can vouch that Americans are appreciative and respectful of military service members. You will often hear Americans saying, “Thank you for your service” to retired and active duty military personnel and they mean it. Americans look at military members as protectors. It is a travesty for you to believe that Americans look up to them for the wrong reason.

  4. andrewlim8 says:


    I dont think you will get much support for this. There is a dead body for God’s sake. It’s not as if he cheated on a card game or got drunk and caused trouble.

    Sober minded Filipinos should ignore the Left’s coloring of this subject. Even Binay is riding on this by visiting the victim’s wake.

    The Phil government and the Filipino people support the VFA and EDCA, I am sure of that. Don’t let one miscreant weaken that alliance.

    Let the guy hang.

    PS I have one issue to raise, though but tempers are still high at this point. It involves the use of “false advertising”. It should be communicated to the LGBT community to self-impose this rule, Don’t advertise under false pretenses. It will likely put you into grave danger. I have no concern if someone wants to have sexual relations with an LGBT but there should be full disclosure at the start.

    It’s no excuse or defense against violence or murder, but it will prevent incidents like this.

  5. brianitus says:

    Uncle Joe,

    I think the primary fear is that the suspect will just go home as if nothing happened. I think the US can demonstrate its commitment to the Philippines by seeing that this case is tried and closed at the fastest possible time. Doing that strengthens the position of the VFA/EDCA, at least in terms of PR points. From afar, I don’t see that the US is running away from this one. No sense in losing an ally just because of one soldier’s slip-up.

    In my view, if the GRP is in that binding agreement, then it should follow it. Have it subjected to review after this case. At least there will be sound basis.

    As for all anti-VFA/EDCA people, this is going to be one case of “I told you so” if nothing happens.

    As for Binay, he really knows how to earn points. In the news, the family longs for government support. Binay just bought that family’s vote by being there when they needed that shoulder to cry on.

    And yes, this is one complicated case and all the other stuff is clouding the issue. Solve the murder first. Justice for the family of Jeffrey/Jennifer Laude. Talk about the other things later.



    • Jake says:

      I dont think that if convicted, Pemberton will go unpunished. This is far from the Smith case. The Smith case was she said/he said. No one denied intercourse, the argument was consent.

      This case is more serious because someone is dead.

      This incident though should prompt the US military into hiring better people. Suicide, sexual assault, PTSD are quite staggering in the US military.

      I had a cousin who considered joining the air force. He said that the recruiter was merely telling the “benefits” (mostly economic) of enlisting, not exactly the whole picture of what it is like in the military. He backed out after a friend of his came home from Afghanistan a bit disgruntled.

      A friend of mine also joined the army. Actually, he told me that he felt “tricked”. The recruiters told him that he can work in the field he wants to (His major was IT) but when he joined, the only field they can put him in is in the maintenance and repair.

      • brianitus says:

        The Dan Smith case is totally different. I don’t think that everyone knows that Nicole eventually dropped the case against the marine. What’s left is the memory that he didn’t serve time here in the Philippines.

        I’m not aware of the factors that cause PTSD. Trained to kill at a time of peace? My unqualified guess is that sort of predisposes you to shift modes — peaceful to battle-ready right away. All those guns and you’re not blowing stuff up?

    • Joe America says:

      Yes indeed. You know, the family of the victim would get a lot better results if they THANKED the US military for being so responsive rather than follow Roque’s plan to march on the ships demanding custody. What is really important? Custody or getting the guy to trial? Teamwork or antagonism? Roque wants antagonism. So do the radical leftists.

      I’d rather see partnership and quick and fair justice.

      • brianitus says:

        I think THANKS is best reserved after case resolution. I am not aware if the US Military is in constant direct contact with Laude family. Man, imagine if they were just a text message/ phone call away. That’ll be really awesome in terms of making them feel that the wheels of justice are turning.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, I suppose. But antagonism is also not helpful if the US is being forthright. Your thought is really excellent, and I hope the US military brass are that thoughtful and compassionate.

      • Jake says:

        What bothers me about Laude’s family is that their “whore faming” is doing more harm on the victim.

        They were the ones who revealed that she was about to be married to a German guy. That has just intensified the victim blaming/bashing.

        If I were a family member, I’d rather grieve privately and not conduct interviews.

        I agree that the NCIS was very cooperative though. Which is a step way higher than what is common in many US Institutions nowadays (esp in football teams, pro or amateur where coaches and teams would rather sweep things under the rug than have the proper authorities investigate)

    • Jake says:

      Comparing the punishments, i think anyone seeking justice will prefer the UMCJ over the Philippine laws. Usually murder in the Philippines is like 10 to 20 years in prison. In the UMCJ, he can have death penalty.

      In addition, a Phil trial can take years. It will be faster if held on the UMCJ.

      This is an important point that the anti VFA camp refuse to recognize beyond the “custody issue”.

      If they really are for justice, they will want him to be tried in the UMCJ than in Philippine courts. If convicted in the Philippines, he has the physical prowess to break through the jail.


  6. Jake says:

    I’d be cautious about it being false advertising. Let’s be real, in those kinds of paid/hook up relationships, is honesty really expected? I doubt it that the Marine gave his real name or age to the gaydies……

    The word I read in Filipino forums is, the place they went to was known as a hangout place for gay prostitutes.

    One could claim that the victim brought it upon himself by not disclosing his XY chromosomes, but it could be argued that the marine brought the situation upon himself by not checking the package before taking it home (especially in the Philippines where trans people are more in the open than their American counterparts) or not paying attention to the briefing regarding what to expect locally.

    On top of that, were they drunk? While underage drinking is not enforceable in the Philippines, he has already gotten in trouble by consuming alcoholic drink. If I’m not mistaken the drinking age in the military is 21 and Pemberton is only 19.

    (I wonder though if he had red horse)

    In short, Pemberton does not deserve to be a marine. Cannot follow simple military rules, what more with tougher rules.

    • Joe America says:

      I’d guess, given a little time, you will find that the U.S. marines agrees with you. If Pemberton is guilty, or violated rules, he will for sure not be a marine. Those details will come out in trial. I would note that you, like Gabriella, seem to have already tried and convicted Pemberton. That is not right.

      • Jake says:

        My commentary was not about the US marines but rather American society and general.

        There seems to be a growing culture of victim blaming especially among young people. This is what happened in the Steubenville and Saratoga as well as Rancho Cucamongua rape cases.

        Unfortunately, the Philippine right is also headed that way. It’s the “victims” fault. It is even more appalling if you see women victim blaming, too

        One thing we must remember is that many of those young people might join the military. Now, if we have victim blaming young people accepted into the military, it will derail what the military has always stood for.

    • andrewlim8 says:

      “False advertising” is not intended to be a defense or mitigating circumstance or excuse. It will never stand.

      But it is an unsolicited advice to the LGBT if they want to reduce their risks… In the same manner, a client soliciting sex ought not to cheat on the agreed payment, if he wants to avoid complications…

      • Jake says:

        But but but, false advertising, lies are common in such seedy profession. It is a profession/transaction where no one expects honesty and there is no warranty…

        Thus, check the package first before purchasing.

        Say that the place was known for being a place for tranny hookers, would it still be false advertising?

        I dont think a sensible bar owner would want gay prostitutes in their bars if they know customers are looking for female prostitutes.

        There could be more to the story

        1. It is possible that Pemberton is not the murder. Maybe a customer next room did it?
        2. His buddies could have set him up bringing him to a gay hooker bar.
        3. It is possible that it is a hate crime of some sort. Think the Craigslist killer(the medical student). Almost all people he assaulted were “working girls” until he totally killed the “masseur”
        4. If he killed the victim, had sex with him/her, it could be that he doubted his sexuality and to convince himself he is a man, he killed him/her
        5. The victim probably attempted to rob the marine. I heard this problem is quite common in the prostitution ring even some female hookers rob their clients. But since the victim was a “guy”, more rage waa felt. The police, I read, is also considering this angle. And the marine was too embarrassed to report so he just finished him/her off
        6. Likely a virgin and was more disappointed more about losing his “virginity” to a trans than having sex with a trans per se. But is it really thrilling to lose one’s virginity to a hooker?

        We definitely have to hear the side of the defense as to compare statement. If he admits to the killing or not. For most part, what we know are from the friend and CCTV. So far, the police only says the time interval from checking in and leaving, not a word from the approximate time of death

  7. I do not think the suspect will be tried for murder for there is no premeditation or aforethought malice that could be pinned on him until his state of mind during the act is probed through discovery and trial. Manslaughter or homicide will be more like it in my opinion.

    Just because the police report indicated that the incident was a “hatred crime,” some people with malicious intent ran away with that and called it a “hate crime.” I also do not like the way some people make this out as if the issue is more than what it is.

    As the mother of a young man who was once torn between a stint in the US military and going to college, I can tell you that I am thankful that he chose the latter. If the accused is my son, I would not like for the US to turn my son to the local authorities. I do not care if he gets a heavier sentence in the military courts, at least I know is he will get a fair, just and speedy trial.

  8. Jake says:

    The only one who makes sense about this “fiasco” is Trillianes.

    Now, I’m not a fan of the guy but he’s the one who can see things more objectively

  9. gerverg1885 says:

    The best way for me to resolve this issue faster is for the family of Laude to agree on an amicable settlement because nobody in his right mind would not think that the victim did not deceive his killer.

    First, he was, in all probability, drunk. And we all know how a teenager, or even an adult, with his bursting hormones act especially if it was activated by alcohol. And an inebriated teenager/man’s vision is clouded during those times. I mean even the ugliest woman can look beautiful to someone who is in his drunken senses.

    He became really angry when he saw that his partner’s member was even bigger than his (as commented by someone in a broadsheet) that it was but natural for him to go into a rage because he was highly expecting a very good time and, lo and behold, they were going to engage in a duel of swords.

    The killer committed a crime but it was triggered by the deception committed by the victim.

    So I think the best way out for the family is to accept any monetary consideration that the family and tthe US military will offer, go home and forget about Harry Roque who is showing his greediness for a big “attorney’s fee” in green bucks.

    • There is evidence that sex did take place between the two… TWICE. This certainly rules out the “deceit” factor.

    • Jake says:

      That’s a waste of resources for Pemberton’s family.

      Say that it is “settled” in the Philippines that way, I doubt that he will escape the scrutiny of the UMCJ. Not having him tried in the UMCJ will undermine the military principles.

      Again, this is far from the Subic Rape Case. The accuser in the “rape” lied and the supreme court thought that the sex was consensual. This case involves someone who was killed. What has to be determined here if the marine killed Laude.

      If he gets tried in the UMCJ, Phil law will likely be almost useless since the sentence for murder is lighter compared to UMCJ sentence.

      Murder is still murder. If you deceived a customer that you sold your car to, would you think that you deserved to be killed? Or would you wish that you get a trial?

      A settlement suggestion is an insult not only to the victim but to the US military as well.

      • Juana Pilipinas says:

        May I correct you? There is no such thing as UMCJ. You are either referring to USMC which stands for United States Marine Corps or UCMJ which is Uniform Code for Military Justice.

    • Juana Pilipinas says:

      This is what the victim’s German boyfriend, Marc Sueselbeck has to say about her:

      “I know her well. We have talked thousands of hours. Since December 2012, I spent nearly 90 days with her in the Philippines. Jennifer [had] been the most true, hopeful, and life-hungry person I ever met in all my life. She had her childish moments. She was hot-tempered. And her feelings … were always extreme. But she was authentic,” he said.

      What bothers me about the excerpt above is that the victim sounds like a psychologically unstable person. More information is needed as to who the victim really is. Likewise, the suspect has to undergo the same scrutiny.

      • Jake says:

        I dont know, especially given that the BF was German whose primary language isn’t English

        Besides, from the outside view, Filipinos are sometimes seen as hot tempered and feelings are extreme….does that mean Filipinos are “unstable”? This is especially if you compare it to “less passionate” Germanic cultures (Romance/Latin cultures are more passionate than their Germanic counterparts). In the US, there’s a stereotype that Latinas are “crazy” when they get mad.

      • Joe America says:

        You know, I really admire your perspectives on this. It would be difficult for a guy to make the observation you just made without being villified, but it your point is a good one. We should await the judicial process and not prejudge.It will be thorough, I am confident.

  10. Jose Guevarra says:

    As long as the US authorities present in the Philippines willingly cooperate with the representatives of the Philippine government in seeing the speedy resolution of this case, i have no problem with the presence of American troops in the Philippines under the authority of the VFA.

    With regards to the “hate crime” nature of this case, let me state this. In most US states, this alleged incident would have been eligible to be classified as being motivated by hate, which if I understand things correctly, usually is an aggravating factor in criminal trials. Unfortunately, the Philippines does NOT have such factors embodied in our laws. This means that no such “hate” factor can come into play. The crime committed here is simply homicide (that is, if proven in the courts). Still, the image of US authorities within the Philippines would not be lessened by its full cooperation with criminal investigators and prosecutors handling this case.

    Using US definitions, for instance, there is evidence showing probable cause that Pemberton may have been responsible for Laude’s death. Pemberton was the last person seen with Laude while the latter was still alive; they registered and entered a motel together; Pemberton was last seen leaving the same motel at about 11:30 the night the crime was committed; and there was evidence that sex did take place between the two (two used condoms were seen in the trash can inside the room Pemberton and Laude checked into). So it would behoove US authorities to eventually allow Philippine officials access to Mr Pemberton once the investigators working on this case are able to secure the necessary warrants. Mutual respect between our countries simply demands this behavior.

    • Jake says:

      Unless DNA tests were conducted, I would not present the condom as an evidence. Who knows if it belonged to the couple who were there before them

      If it were theirs, why was it two if the marine thought that Laude was a female?

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, Jose, I totally agree with all that you have said. I hope the matter follows a steady and determined judicial process and the mucking up of the case with international political escapades stops.

  11. Joe America says:

    From the inquirer today:

    MANILA, Philippines— The United States said Saturday it would comply with a Philippine prosecutor’s order to produce a murder suspect and four other US Marines in the investigation into the killing of a transgender Filipino sex worker.

    The prosecutor ordered the five US Marines to give depositions at a formal hearing on Tuesday after police named one of them as a suspect in the October 11 hotel killing in the northern port of Olongapo.

    “The United States will continue to assist in the investigation to help ensure justice is served,” US embassy spokeswoman Anna Richey said in an emailed response to AFP’s requests for comment.

    “This will include making the suspect, witnesses, and any evidence gathered available to the Philippine authorities.”

  12. gerverg1885 says:


    The term ‘transgender’ is so confusing when it is used to write the news about Laude because the word ‘woman’ is added at the end. Now, what I would like to read anytime soon is the phrase ‘transgender man’ for a change.

    I hope the easy-to-understand term gay or homosexual would be used as the standard for any news writers. Transgender woman is simply misleading.

    Just a thought!

    • There is nothing confusing here. The word transgender is used to refer to anyone who portrays themselves as being members of the other sex. A transgender woman is a man portraying himslef as a woman. But women can also be transgenders, portraying themselves as men, in which case they are called transgender men.

    • manuel buencamino says:


      Cher’s daughter is now a transgender man.

      • Joe America says:

        Very good. That was top news in the US quite a few years ago. Cher, by the way, was the main subject of my Master’s Thesis in college. Basically, I surveyed people who had written letters to CBS to complain about her skimpy clothes on her television show. About 95% of them were from women. From that, after about three hundred pages of statistics and bullshit academic references and writing, I came up with the finding that comments were not representative of the audience itself and CBS could safely ignore them. I graduated and CBS offered me a job as an usher for daytime television shows.

        I went into banking.

    • Joe America says:

      @garverg, It is further complicated by the fact that Philippine law does not recognize any gender but man or woman, and you are what it says on your birth certificate. So, to be legally accurate, I have to refer to Jennifer as a man. Even though in the world of crossovers I would be angrily castigated. I imagine that matter could come up in trial, that the accused was cruelly tricked by a representation of man as woman.

  13. manuel buencamino says:


    Please check

    A commenter in the thread in my FB page which carried the post linked above said:
    “Unfortunately, you cannot separate one from the other. Just look at Ferguson, MO, or Trayvon Martin. Such deaths are always politicized because they are seen as an extension of the oppression of the white man over the blacks locally, and as an extension of an arrogant and impugn US internationally. No one has been held to account for all the innocent civilians killed as a result of drone strikes or even the Iraq war itself, which we now know was a totally bogus war whose only objective was to secure oil.”

    There was a back and forth between us but my final response was:
    “I don’t see a link or a relationship. All I see is a young man who happened to be an American soldier who killed a Filipino who happened to be a transgender. I see no geopolitical or racial element in it although I can see sexism as a possibility. VFA is not a precursor to criminal behavior although the agreement itself contains provisions that seem to favor America because the agreement splits the question of jurisdiction into two : jurisdiction of the court and custody of the accused pending final resolution of the case. Justice for Jennifer comes with the conviction of her murderer. Junking VFA is another matter altogether because we could junk VFA and still not get her murderer so she won’t get justice. But we can keep VFA and get her killer and she gets justice. And that’s why I said, Justice for Jennifer and Junk VFA do not belong in the same placard.”

    One other point: The VFA, an agreement that both the Philippines and the US entered into based on each’s national interest and security needs, contained compromises. The Philippine side started out from total legal jurisdiction over anybody accused of breaking Philippine laws while the US side started from we retain complete jurisdiction over our servicemen. There would have been no VFA if the two sides did not meet half way i.e. by splitting jurisdiction in half. I think it’s a good compromise.

  14. i7sharp says:


    I enjoyed reading just now through your “The Philippine Blog Center” Raissa Robles’ comparison between VP Binay and the late Mayor Robredo.
    Her excellent (as usual?) piece made me wonder what she will say (or has said) about the case of Laude.

    If I am not mistaken the last mention of Raissa in your blog site (The Society of Honor) was on September 29.


    ps From what I know (very little still?), Robredo’s widow should be considered … “presidentiable.”

    • Joe America says:

      I do occasionally cite Raissa in comments or blogs, and always as Top Blogger, because she is that. The comparison between Binay and Robredo is about as stark as they come. I’m reluctant to suggest articles for her to write about, because she is a busy lady. But indeed her take on the Laude matter would be interesting. She and I disagree on some matters, by the way. The relationship between the US and Philippines is one of them. But those are just issues and don’t interfere with our mutual respect for what we each do, working toward the same end. A wise and productive Philippines.

  15. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    I love you, Joe. You know and always knew Philippine Justice is game Filipinos play in a wicked mysterious ways. Once a suspect always guilty. They embarrass the suspect. They protest against the suspect. They mix it with politics. And, voila! GUILTY YOUR HONOR.

    The same is true with Binay.
    Same is true with Ate Glo.
    Same is true with Corona.
    Of course the famous Ampatuan.
    Same is true with every inhabitants in the Philippines.

    All of the aboves are Guilty-by-Affidavits. Bring in ignorant witnesses. Type an Affidavit. Have them sign it. They got evidence! Then question&answer inquiries. Never ever presenting evidences.

    All investigations in the Philippines end up in ADMISSIONS and CONFESSIONS. Maybe their interrogators are from the laity. Witnesses-of-otherwise are never to be found. Of course, because they pubicize their investigations and interrogations. It is pure comics. But sure is entertaining not informative.


    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      I DO NOT LIKE CROOKS. I HATE CROOKS. I AM NOT DEFENDER OF CROOKS. I AM DEFENDER OF HUSTISYA MATUWID. But, please, people do it the righteous way so it will not become presidents … errrrr … precedence.

      Sorry, for using the word “PEOPLE”. In the U.S. “PEOPLE” is a derogatory word. We do not use it. A word that is derogatory in the PHilippines is “ALL”, like, “EVERYBODY” which I am fund of using.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, I am reminded of the old westerns I used to watch, when the lynch mob would gather angrily in front of the sheriff’s office. Those were in black and white. Here they are in living color, fancy political placards and all. Much jazzier and modern.

  16. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    There is nothing to worry, Joe. Because Our American will be defended by Our American. Our American will ask for EVIDENCES not an ARRAY OF WITNESSES bearing PILES OF AFFIDAVITS. That is why Ate Glo has her number of accusations acquitted because they cannot show proof or evidences just fishwives stale stinky fishmongering.

    That is why the Filipinos to this day cannot understand why Swiss Banks are not releasing the loot of Marcos because the Swiss are doing it the way it should be done not Justice Philippine Way or fondly called “HUSTISYA MATUWID”

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, I think the accused will get a fair trial, actually, for the reasons you cite. It will be legalistically tight because his attorneys will insist on it. I wonder who represented Smith now that I think about it. He got 40 years for “rape”.

      Now I’m not so confident.

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        Did Smith go to prison? I’ve never been updated on the verdict. I think Smith went home free because Nicole, the rape victim, got an American Visa definintely not a tourist visa.

        A “prostitute” getting an AMerican Visa was just a miracle.

        • Joe America says:

          As I recollect, he was held at the American Embassy for three years as the case went from trial, conviction, appeal, Nicole’s recanting, and release. He never got to a Philippine jail. The visa for Nicole was for sure an official government act aimed at ending the embarrassing mess.

  17. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Benigno’s campaign against corruption is naught if there is no HUSTISYA MATUWID. It will just be another MORE OF THE SAME.

  18. josephivo says:

    For me there are two situations: first, accidents/crimes happening in “uniform”, as drowning a fisherman in a landing exercise by accident or on purpose and secondly accidents/crimes happening in “civilian”, drowning the fisherman’s daughter in a bathtub by accident or on purpose . For the first special agreements could be made as the once in place now. For the second the soldier is just a tourist and he should be treated as all other tourists, by Philippine law. If you think that these laws are unreliable, than don’t go to a bar in the Philippines.

    • Joe America says:

      I think current arrangements are fine, and the only problem is the political interests who don’t mind using a tragedy to advance their aims. I have come to detest this Harry Roque fellow. I once, before really knowing him, wrote a blog saying the Philippines needed more advocates like him. How wrong I was. He has become downright creepy with his advocacies. The good thing is that there are signs in social media that Filipinos can see through these crass manipulators, just as they are roasting Binay every time one of his lackeys attacks someone just doing their job on behalf of the Philippines (e.g., de Lima).

  19. josephivo says:

    “Frontal cortex”. The reason why generals like young soldiers and the reason young people should not be allowed in adult bars is the same. “Hormones” and other emotional impulses making our amygdala fire instantaneous. Luckily we have a frontal cortex slowing us down with rational impulses form the frontal cortex. But this large part of the brain develops slowly, it is only fully developed at 24. Thus 19 year olds are much more impulsive and less “considerate” than (full) adults. Great on a battle field when rationality does not induce fear, but dramatic in a hotel room when you discover you great love or pick-up is not what you expected.

    The lesson here should be not to allow -21’s in bars (both girls and boys), especially not all pepped up young marines. Lessons learned and preventing being the most important.

    (internet is back here 🙂

  20. JM says:

    This issue has been blown out of proportions. Follow the law. If the contract with the US states that they will not turn over the soldier then they have the right not to. We agreed to that contract. Period (I think I’ve read somewhere that this is the case, correct me if Im wrong). What’s the fuss about? If he is found guilty, then he goes to jail. It will only be a huge issue if the soldier is guilty and he is not jailed for it. As usual, emotions flaring up without thinking.

    Maybe the contract favors the US in this regard but we really can’t do anything about it when retards outnumber the ones who contribute to the economy. When retards are given the equal right to vote, this will enable them to place corrupt trash in office. These corrupt trash will then handsomely reward them by keeping them poor and retarded and thereby securing their/family’s position. Endless Cycle. Sad reality.

    • Joe America says:

      I think you are right. Overblown reaction as the press “bites” for the extremist marchings and the pontifications of Harry Roque, who has descended to the gutter of tort lawyering. Ambulance chasing.

      The VFA is an important document. It is the document that allows US soldiers to come into the Philippines and put Tacloban airport back together again without having to get visas. They can just fly in and help out, no processing required. It is the document that permits training exercises to take place without hassle, as if the two nations were partners. It is the document that gives Filipinos valuable slots at US military academies and other training in the States.

      Why is the imprisonment clause even worth talking about, considering those values. But if it is that important to Filipinos, how about giving something up to convince the US to give something up. Like pass on the training of Filipinos at military academies. Or cancel the VFA and forget about American help after storms. I have no problems with either of those steps.

      I do have a problem with the Philippines thinking the US should just give things to the Philippines . . .

      THAT is sovereignty?

      • Attila says:

        “I do have a problem with the Philippines thinking the US should just give things to the Philippines . . . ”
        Many Filipinos feel entitled. They believe that the US owns them. I also heard Filipinos saying that Filipinos have the right to overstay and break the law and take jobs away from Americans because the white men also took land from the native Indians, slaved blacks etc. White people just don’t have the moral high ground to deport overstaying Filipinos. Whites are hypocrites who are also jealous of Filipinos becoming successful. The whites keep Filipinos down because they want to keep America for themselves. That is the general belief Joe of the many Filipinos that I know personally here in New York. My Filipina wife also approves this as the general belief.

        • Joe America says:

          Say hey, Attila, good to hear from you. I hope you and your family are well and your photography continues to brighten the world’s artistic spirit.

          Reverse entitlement. Hmmmm. That makes a lot of sense, and the current flare-up of a transgender’s murder evidently by an American marine is making that sense of entitlement to a special kind of justice ring loud in the headlines. I very much appreciate that enlightenment. Thanks.

        • JM says:

          I have mixed feelings when foreigners point out what’s wrong with my people. It’s enlightening because I get to see what’s wrong in my country but sometimes I find it annoying because generalization usually follows. I understand that a lot of Filipinos see it that way but at the same time I know that I and the people around me doesn’t. We’d probably be branded the same even if we don’t agree with them. A lot are migrating soon/have migrated, probably acquire new citizenship and never look back. Most have lost hope that this country will ever change.

  21. Abraham Galon says:

    Hey Joe, I agree with you in both counts and here is the third reason why?

    “Steven Dale Green was the first American soldier charged and convicted under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act — a law signed in 2000 that gives the federal government jurisdiction to pursue criminal cases against American citizens and soldiers for acts committed in foreign lands.”

    This private along with his buddies killed the whole family after raping the 14 year old girl in Afghanistan.

    • Joe America says:

      Excellent point, Abraham. America does seek to restrain crime through punishment, within a system that protects the rights of the accused. Even among its troops, who work in the killing fields and are too often seduced by the ease, and a certain warped justification, of murder. It’s anti-crime efforts, including sophisticated CSI technology and interconnected computer data bases, are probably the most advanced in the world. Thanks for putting that into the debate.

  22. J says:

    Hi Joe,

    I disagree with your generalization that the Philippine justice system is not based on reason, although I concede that it’s not a perfect system indeed. At any rate, if your issue is our justice system, I’m afraid I have to point out that it has nothing to do with the issue of custody, since under our Visiting Forces Agreement the Philippines retain jurisdiction over the respondent in question. Moreover, be assured that by agreeing to let Philippine authorities take custody of the accused, the American Embassy is not handing the suspect over to “this welcoming party” you refer to. Private First Class Pemberton is safe in Camp Aguinaldo. The facilities he is being held in is reasonably adequate, and his rights are being protected.

  23. ikalwewe says:

    I was going to write an article about this. Maybe I still will. I’ve been swamped with work.

    Some things…
    1) the only reason it’s a big deal is because there is an American involved. I mean, other members of the third sex have been murdered before..where was Gabriela?
    2) In Japan, I heard that they (the military personnel) are strongly discouraged to go to bars and clubs (as far as the girlfriends and wives tell me….unreliable, I know..). It seems like this is not a rule imposed by Japan but by the bases. Maybe we should implement the same rules?
    3)I am still confused as to what she was doing at the bar considering 3.a) she was engaged 3.b) she was not a prostitute (as the relatives claimed)
    4) I have to admit that I am biased against people (who despite what her family claims) are in the same profession as Jennifer (or same character?). Regardless of her profession (or her character), a crime is still a crime. Whoever killed her must do the time.
    5) Last I heard, it was claimed that the two condoms had “fecal material” on them. But they hadn’t confirmed that the dna belonged to either laude or pemberton. Which is strange – shouldn’t testing the DNA be the priority? As far as the evidence goes – we can establish that someone had anal sex in the same room. But we don’t know who. What if the condoms belonged to someone else?
    6) Ang tagal nang issue nito Joe. Since I was in grade school. My take is, if the Americans leave, the Chinese will become even bolder. Let’s face it, we’re a country that cannot look after ourselves. It’s just choosing the “lesser evil”. I mean, even here in Japan- the Chinese vessels have come as far as Ogasawara. And we have American bases, decent Japanese fleet, navy, coast guards, subs.NO stopping these chinese
    7) OA – Overacting! 7.a) about the german fiance – just let the man go home, for crying out loud. 7.b) the soldier ‘awarded’ for doing his job. REALLY! it’s an insult to those who died for the country.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, you make a lot of sense. The matter has gone a lot quieter since Harry Roque became the subject of a disbarment complaint from the AFP. He way overplayed his hand by egging the German over the fence. He is the main instigator of the over-acting. The comment threads are much more sane with many angry at those who make a sordid murder an international affair, at some possible risk to the security of the Philippines. There is also a lot of dissatisfaction with the transgender community, defending a person who was evidently cheating on a loved one. But if you make those arguments, you get accused of justifying murder, as if the issue can’t be separated into its component parts.

  24. AV Europe says:

    ikalwewe, please enlighten me “the Chinese will become even bolder”, as this is an assumption.
    Could you give some examples where Chinese army service men committed such crimes.

    Even not this kind of crime but where Chinese service men went out of control in the world.

    • Joe America says:

      AV Europe, I don’t know if ikalwewe will revisit this blog or not. But you got my curiosity up. A comprehensive overview of WW II atrocities is provided by Wiki: Every nation did it’s foul deeds. China’s were not well reported because of the lack of press coverage within China. The U.S. also fought brutally, with many “field executions” of Japanese soldiers, something senior officers supported. If we look at “official national policy” toward captured troops, however, as represented by deaths within POW populations, we see the following ranking:

      Chinese held by the Japanese: Almost 100% “died”.
      Russians held by the Germans: 57% died
      Germans held by Soviet Union: Between 15 and 36%
      Westerners held by Japan: 27%
      Japanese held by Chinese: 25%
      Germans held by UK and French: less than 3%
      Germans and Japanese held by US: less than 1%

  25. AV Europe says:

    Filipinos and soap stories, something good they inherit from the US as it’s funny.

  26. AV Europe says:

    Joe, thanks for the World War 2 history however i thought it was about Service men not behaving and murdering in the Philippines.

    War is war and what happens then should be discussed in another context.

    Let me recall ikalwewe words:
    “1) the only reason it’s a big deal is because there is an American involved”,
    Imaging it was a Chinese who should have done this. I hear her already shouting, kill this men as i don’t see why she refer to Chinese in what happened.

    “Let’s face it, we’re a country that cannot look after ourselves. It’s just choosing the “lesser evil”
    Looks like the US is a bit of evil, China much more evil and the Philippines poor, so good Angles (i get already tears in my eyes).
    Even after being 50 years in the hands of the US, they still can’t manage their country, something to be proud of ikalwewe.

    Joe, hearing them crying for help (US), how feels this ?
    Glory of what the US achieved in the past in the Philippines or disillusioned ?

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, I understand the context now. Thanks. Perhaps she needs to answer from her perspective. From mine, I think had a Chinese man murdered the transgender, it would not have made such big news. Now, if a Chinese warship were in Subic getting supplies and a Chinese soldier committed the deed, I suspect the reaction would have been similar outrage.

      But I do think Filipinos over-react in many situations where national pride is at stake. I look at Senator Santiago’s “humiliation” for the unbalanced imprisonment clause in the VFA. Perfect example. The VFA is a Filipino agreement that gives the US military certain rights so the US can easily bring troops to the Philippines. Why is she humiliated by her own nation’s agreement?

      The US . . . ordinary Americans . . . rarely think about the Philippines. They don’t understand the colonial period or care to. It is only kept alive in the Philippines by refusing to let go of the past. Americans smack their heads when a soldier commits a crime and wonders why we have so many of our people around the world, anyway. Bad things like that happens when you mix soldiers and girls in an out-of-this-world-setting, fueled by booze. It is not a “nation to nation” insult. It is bad people, or bad circumstances, as individuals.

      I rather think that any relationship between the US and Philippines is determined largely by the Philippines and not dictated by the US, and if the US being here is a problem . . . like the 9 ships that won’t dock at Subic because of the heated reaction about Pemberton . . . the US will find a way around the Philippines.

      I also think Filipino emotionalism, stoked by a sensationalist press always on the hunt for dirt, works against the nation. That said, I see a LOT more rational views in discussion threads about the Pemberton deal than I did in 2008 when Nicole was the hot item. It seems to me some new, less provincial, perspectives are emerging. Social media, OFW’s, more travel . . . worldly views.

  27. AV Europe says:

    To keep it simple:
    Like a marriage that went wrong, the Philippines don’t want to divorce.

    And as said before, they love soap stories as it keep them busy and give them an opportunity in expressing their frustrations, anger, jealousy,…. .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: