AFP chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. (left) and US Marine officials inspect the 20-ft. shipping container which was converted into a temporary detention cell for USMC Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, suspect in the killing of Filipino transgender woman Jeffrey Laude, in Camp Aguinaldo on Wednesday, October 22. (MNS photo)

AFP chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. (left) and US Marine officials inspect the 20-ft. shipping container which was converted into a temporary detention cell for USMC Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, suspect in the killing of Filipino transgender woman Jeffrey Laude, in Camp Aguinaldo on Wednesday, October 22. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Olongapo City chief fiscal Emilie de los Santos on Tuesday vouched for the authenticity of the DNA samples taken from the US Marine suspect Joseph Scott Pemberton.

De los Santos dismissed doubts from the family of slain transgender Jennifer Laude that the samples could have come from a different person.

She said the person they took DNA samples from was the same person earlier identified by witness “Barbie.”

She added the reason they did not allow Barbie to join the actual sample-taking was because the request from the Laude camp came too late.

“We are lucky we were granted access because as prosecutor we have to see how the saliva was extracted…because how can we propound questions in court if we did not see how it was done?” she said.

She dismissed allegations that the DNA could have come from the wrong person.

“Common sense, how will they benefit if they give us the wrong person. It will just show they are not complying with the [Visiting Forces Agreement].”

De los Santos also disputed allegations she has been taking orders from the US government.

She clarified her requirements for the investigation were always coursed through the Department of Foreign Affairs.

She added they have no choice but to comply with the protocols of the Visiting Forces Agreement because Pemberton is an active Marine.

“I always do it through diplomatic channels. I always write letters… I do not talk with them. I just tell the DFA people what I need for my investigation,” she said.

De los Santos said she has no control over why a report from the United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service was not given to the victim’s family. This is after the lawyer of the Laude family questioned why they were not given a copy of the NCIS report.

“If they don’t want to give a copy of the report to the prosecutor, we cannot force them…How can I give something which I have no authority to give,” she said.

Amid efforts to have her replaced, De los Santos insists she is competent to prosecute the case, noting she was the same prosecutor who secured a conviction in the Daniel Smith case.

“I don’t overstep. I respect their advocacies. Pilipino din ako,” she said.(MNS)