Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario expressed sympathy and vowed that immediate justice for Jeffery Laude alias “Jennifer,” the slained transgender in Olongapo City, will be served.
In a statement, the US embassy expressed its deepest condolences to Laude’s family and stated they will cooperate with Philippine authorities in the investigation. American troops are currently in the country as part of a joint training exercise.
Although the drills are over, no American ship will leave the Philippines just yet.
Eduardo Oban, executive director of the Visiting Forces Agreement Commision, said Admiral Samuel Locklear ordered the USS Peleliu and another warship to stay in the former U.S. base of Subic Bay until after the murder investigation is over.
At the moment, there are few details about the case. But the Marine Corps Times and Navy Times said a US Marine and three others are already detained at the USS Peleliu.
Some Filipino lawmakers, on the other hand, said the US Marine should be immediately placed under Philippine custody putting consideration that under the Visiting Forces Agreement, ‘the Philippines will have jurisdiction on criminal cases involving American servicemen, but the suspects will remain under US custody.’
Women’s group Gabriela now fears a repeat of the Subic r**e case involving Lance Corporal Daniel Smith, who was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2006. But three years later, the alleged victim Suzette Nicolas recanted and Smith was released.
Based on the initial investigation of the Olongapo police, these are the established facts on Laude’s d***h:
- Victim’s neck was pressed down on the toilet seat, while his head was being shoved into the toilet bowl
- Two used condoms were found in the garbage can inside the hotel room
- CCTV footage taken at a bar in Olongapo City shows there were four male foreigners with Laude
- Laude’s friend said the foreigners approached them inside the bar on the evening of October 11
- The victim and one of the foreigners checked in at Celzone Lodge
- The foreigner was spotted leaving the room after 30 minutes
- Motel staff who entered the room to clean it found the victim’s body
- There were no signs of a struggle in the bedroom and Laude’s belongings were complete
Two motives behind the killing are now being looked by the authorities. One, the foreigner could have found out that Laude was a transgender. However, authorities doubt this theory because of the used condoms discovered in the room. Two, Laude could have tried to steal from the foreigner.
The US embassy in Manila has said that a US Marine is the most possible suspect.