Unruly events a ‘media circus’ US envoy

Goldberg says they want justice served for murder victim

-- Protest streamers are displayed during the march to the Heritage Garden in Olongapo City. (MNS photo)

— Protest streamers are displayed during the march to the Heritage Garden in Olongapo City. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Oct 23 (Mabuhay) – United States Ambassador Philip Goldberg on Thursday scored what he called a “media circus” involving the killing of transgender woman Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, saying that is not the way to obtain justice.

Goldberg also hinted the US is not keen on giving Laude’s family access to the suspect, Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton.

“(W)e should be all focused on making sure the rule of law is followed, to make sure that justice is served. Justice for the family, justice for Jennifer Laude. We ought to have that as our goal, not media circuses, and the kinds of things and acts that took place yesterday,” he said.

“I recognize by the way that there is a bereaved family and they are very upset. We’ve sent our condolences and we want to see justice done but we cannot see justice done through (this),” he added.

He particularly voiced disappointment over Wednesday’s incident where Laude’s kin went to Camp Aguinaldo and insisted on confronting Pemberton.

During Wednesday’s incident, Laude’s sister and German fiance Marc Sueselbeck climbed a perimeter fence and triggered a standoff of sorts outside the area where Pemberton was detained.

“I think what happened yesterday at (Camp Aguinaldo), where intruders came in to an (Armed Forces of the Philippines) military base, were able to get into a restricted area is very disappointing, quite frankly,” Goldberg said.

When asked if the US will allow Laude’s family access to Pemberton minus the so-called “media circus,” he said the US Embassy will follow the Visiting Forces Agreement.

“First of all, our responsibility under the VFA is to make a suspect available for trial, that’s our responsibility… That’s what we’ll follow. We’re not going to engage in theatrics,” he said.

Pemberton was transferred to a detention facility at the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City on Wednesday.

The Marine faces a murder complaint before the Olongapo City Prosecutor’s Office for the killing of Laude on October 11.

Goldberg said in the same Unang Hirit interview on Thursday the US will stick to what the VFA says regarding custody of the suspect.

“We’ll follow the VFA, and the suspect is under US custody,” he said.

Meanwhile, Goldberg said the US Marines also want to see truth and justice done.

“I’m sure like everyone else, they want to see truth and justice done,” he said.

When asked if there will be stricter rules on rest and recreation, he said they “look at that all the time.”

But he also noted 25,000 to 30,000 American servicemen come to the Philippines for exercises and important defense cooperation deployments.

“They act responsibly, they help the local economy, they want to have a good experience in the Philippines, they heard a lot about the Philippines,” he said. (MNS)

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