Members of the militant womens group Gabriela marched to Mendiola Tuesday to condemn the Aquino government for having no support to the slain transgender Jennifer Laude. The group acuse the President as "Tuta" of the US Government. Photo by: R.M.

Members of the militant womens group Gabriela marched to Mendiola Tuesday to condemn the Aquino government for having no support to the slain transgender Jennifer Laude. The group acuse the President as “Tuta” of the US Government. Photo by: R.M.

MANILA (Mabuhay) — US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton refused to enter a plea in the murder charges the government filed in connection with the death of transgender woman Jennifer Laude.

In his arraignment on Monday, the Olongapo Regional Trial Court entered a ”not guilty” plea on behalf of Pemberton.

Prosecutors earlier found the qualifying circumstances of ”treachery, abuse of superior strength, and cruelty” in the manner of killing Laude.

In an interview with reporters in Olongapo, private prosecutor Harry Roque called for an immediate start to the trial, noting the Laudes will not settle the case in exchange for money.

”Malinaw ang paninindigan ng pamilyang Laude. Ang kailangan nila at ng sambayanang Pilipino ay katarungan,” he said.

The parties will next undergo pre-trial, scheduled on Friday, where they have an option to end the case.

Virgie Suarez, another private prosecutor, said Pemberton did not enter a plea in the hope that the Supreme Court will side with him.

The Department of Justice earlier junked the appeal of Pemberton to overturn the murder raps. The next that his camp could do is bring the case to the high court.

Meanwhile, the hearings at the trial court will continue, Suarez said.

Jennifer’s sister Marilou, meanwhile, complained of ”too many Americans” inside the court room. On the other hand, reporters were not allowed inside, she said.

”Nanginginig sa inis sa dami ng bodyguards. Kaya pa ba namin yariin si Pemberton?” she asked.(MNS)