Guilty of Murder! U.S. Turn Over Pemberton Now!
December 4-6 Petition-signing Blitz- Click link to sign HERE
On October 11, 2014, Filipina transgender woman Jennifer Laude was brutally murdered in Ologapo, Philippines. The long-awaited verdict of US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton for the murder of Jennifer Laude was released on December 1st in the Philippines. He was found guilty of homicide, considered a lesser offense than murder, and sentenced to serve 6-12 years in prison and ordered to pay the Laude family $95,000. However, Julia Cabillan, Jennifer’s mother states:
“No amount of money could pay for the years I spent raising my child. What they did to my child was gruesome. Just because we are poor doesn’t mean we can’t fight for justice.”
BAYAN USA and GABRIELA USA are calling attention to Jennifer Laude’s murder and demand both the U.S. & Philippine governments to hold U.S. Marine PFC Joseph Scott Pemberton accountable for Jennifer Laude’s murder. Rather than turning over Pemberton to Philippine authorities as stipulated in his court-ordered sentence, the U.S. refused to give up custody of the convicted Marine–in blatant disregard for Philippine sovereignty.
The U.S. and Philippines have had a long history of unequal relations between both countries. Until agreements like VFA and EDCA are eradicated, we expect that violence and injustices committed against Filipino women and children will happen repeatedly due to unequal relations between the U.S. and the Philippines. We demand that President Obama stop violating Philippine sovereignty and order Pemberton to be turned over to Philippine authorities immediately.
Starting today, December 4th through Sunday, December 6th, we are calling for a 2-day Petition-signing Blitz, with a goal of at least 1,000 signatures by December 6th. Sunday will mark the fifth day since the court ruling, which is the deadline for the U.S. and Philippine authorities to finalize where Pemberton will be. Please sign and urge others to sign as well, as we demand true justice for Jennifer and uphold Philippine national sovereignty, and make our call loud and clear for the U.S. to turn over Pemberton!
Change your Profile picture “Justice for Jennifer Laude!” on Facebook and add the petition link!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 1, 2015
Reference: Rhonda Ramiro, BAYAN-USA Vice Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org
Guilty Verdict in Pemberton Trial Still Allows U.S. to Get Away with Murder
“Today, a Philippine court ruled that Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton is guilty of homicide, but both Pemberton and U.S. imperialism are still getting away with murder in the Philippines,” said Jessica Antonio, Secretary General of BAYAN-USA, in response to the highly-anticipated verdict in the trial of the U.S. Marine charged with murdering Filipina trans woman Jennifer Laude on October 11, 2014 in Olongapo City, Philippines. Pemberton was charged with murder, but the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Judge Roline Gines-Jabalade convicted Pemberton of homicide and sentenced him to serve six-to-twelve years in a Philippine prison and pay the equivalent of $95,000 to the Laude family.
“The fact that Judge Gines-Jabalde declared Pemberton guilty of the lesser charge of homicide rather than the original charge of murder shows that she bought into Pemberton’s transphobic argument that he panicked when he found out Jennifer was transgender. This is an affront to Jennifer and to trans women worldwide who are increasingly experiencing violent attacks,” said Antonio.
The U.S. Embassy released a statement noting “that the Olongapo Regional Trial Court Branch 74 has reached a decision in the case of Lance Corporal Pemberton,” and that the U.S. would “proceed in full compliance with the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).” Antonio commented by replying, “Empty promises can’t erase the injustices of the past and are no substitute for justice today. The U.S. must stop using the VFA to shield Pemberton and instead immediately turn over the convicted murderer to the Philippine authorities to serve his sentence.”
“By refusing to turn over Pemberton to Philippine authorities even after his sentencing by a court of law, the U.S. is making a mockery of the Philippine legal system and our national sovereignty,” said Antonio. “If that isn’t sufficient proof that the VFA needs to be terminated immediately and that further negotiations on the implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement must be suspended, I don’t know what is,” said Antonio.
“This insult to Philippine sovereignty is no surprise, given the history of U.S. militarization in the Philippines. It also exemplifies exactly why Filipinos are opposed to the VFA and EDCA. Throughout his entire term, President Aquino has done nothing but bend over backwards to accommodate US military interests. Any presidential candidate in the upcoming 2016 elections who is serious about protecting Philippine sovereignty will need to prioritize ending these ridiculously lopsided agreements or risk walking the same incompetent and subservient path as Aquino,” said Antonio.
“BAYAN-USA joins the chorus of voices worldwide demanding Justice for Jennifer. We urge our members and allies to join local actions calling for genuine Justice for Jennifer and all trans women, an end to transmisogyny and US militarization, and the termination of the VFA and EDCA,” ended Antonio.
BAYAN-USA is an alliance of 20 progressive Filipino organizations in the U.S. representing youth, students, women, workers, artists, and human rights advocates. As the oldest and largest overseas chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Philippines), BAYAN-USA serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of the Philippines and as a center for educating, organizing, and mobilizing anti-imperialist Filipinos in the U.S. For more information, visit www.bayanusa.org.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 1, 2015
Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, email@example.com
Not Enough: Pemberton is Guilty of Murder
The long-awaited verdict of US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton for the murder of Jennifer Laude was released today in the Philippines. He was found guilty of homicide, considered a lesser offense than murder, sentenced to serve 6-12 years in prison and ordered to pay the Laude family $95,000. However, Julia Cabillan, Jennifer’s mother states “No amount of money could pay for the years I spent raising my child. What they did to my child was gruesome. Just because we are poor doesn’t mean we can’t fight for justice”.
Members of GABRIELA USA rallied outside of the Olongapo Regional Trial Court house with GABRIELA Philippines and BAYAN Philippines, demanding the conviction of Pemberton as well as the immediate termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). Meanwhile, US Marines refuse to give up custody of Pemberton and turn him over to Philippine authorities, an outright disregard for the respect of the Philippine justice system and an affront to Philippine sovereignty.
“The guilty verdict for Pemberton’s crime is a small victory yet insufficient as his guilty conviction was for the crime of homicide instead of murder. GABRIELA USA members strongly believe that Pemberton is culpable for the murder of Jennifer Laude, and for the facade of “trans panic” to absolve him of his crime is despicable and inexcusable,” stated Valerie Francisco, Chairperson of GABRIELA USA, “His transphobia does not justify the brutal transphobic violence that ended Jennifer’s life. He is guilty of murder!”
The Laude case has had significant implications on the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and questions have yet again been raised in Philippine Congress and Senate regarding the VFA in light of the Laude case. However, since the recent visit of US President Barack Obama to the Philippines during the recent APEC Leaders Meeting, a statement was released, confident that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of the EDCA and that joint defense and humanitarian work between both countries will continue. “Jennifer Laude. Nicole. Countless others suffer under unequal agreements like the EDCA. It is unconstitutional and it has and will continue to negatively impact Filipino women, children, and LGBTQ people,” Tina Shauf, GABRIELA USA Mass Campaigns Officer commented. GABRIELA USA calls for the eradication of the EDCA and unequal agreements like the Visiting Forces Agreement putting the lives of Filipinos like Jennifer Laude at risk daily.
With the Philippine elections approaching in May 2016, GABRIELA USA is urging presidential candidates to have a strong platform to protect Philippine national sovereignty and put an end to agreements and policies that bow down to US imperialist interest. “The only way the Filipino people can truly achieve victory is if the Philippine government upholds national sovereignty by immediately terminating the VFA and EDCA,” Francisco concludes.
This Friday, December 4th marks 9 years since the guilty verdict of Daniel Smith, and as long as unequal policies and agreements exist between the US and Philippines, it is inevitable that there will be more Nicoles and Jennifers. GABRIELA USA will not forget that countless Filipino women and children have been negatively impacted by US military occupation, and we say ENOUGH is ENOUGH! We demand an end to US Occupation over our land and bodies!
End US Occupation over our land and bodies!
Justice for Jennifer Laude and all trans women! End Transmisogyny Now!
US Troops Out of the Philippines! Junk the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and Scrap the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA)!
GABRIELA USA is a grassroots-based alliance of progressive Filipino women’s organizations in the United States seeking to wage a struggle for the liberation of all oppressed Filipino women and the rest of our people.