DAVAO CITY – The militant group Gabriela said the Philippines has become a “more dangerous place” for members of the lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender community after the court ruling on US marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton.
Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Emmi De Jesus said they see the homicide conviction of Pemberton as a retrogression of legal justice for transgenders and other victims of “crimes of passion” and a setback to global human rights standards.
De Jesus said the ruling handed down by the Olongapo Trial Court Branch 74 is “regrettable in the tone it set to again normalize elements of passion in justifying killings or mitigating the culpability, which resulted in the downgrade to a mere homicide conviction”.
She cited the court’s explanation that Pemberton’s loss of “reason and self-control” because he was “disgusted and repulsed” by the discovery that Laude had male genitals was the mitigating factor to exculpate Pemberton.
“Naniniwala kami sa Gabriela na ang pinaghalong alibi ng temporary insanity at honor killing na nagpalabnaw sa salang murder ni Pemberton ay may malaking bigwas sa karapatan ng transgender. Ipinahihiwatig nito na tila sa isang antas ay katanggap-tanggap ang nangyari dahil transgender si Jennifer. Maaari din itong precedent sa kaso ng mga pagpatay sa mga kababaihan (We believe the alibi on temporary insanity and honor killing that mitigated the murder charge against Pemberton is an attack against the rights of transgenders. It may seem acceptable because (Jennifer Laude) was a transgender. This may become a precedent on the killings of women),” De Jesus said.
De Jesus said women rights advocates and the Laude family should work to elevate the case to the higher courts and seek to overturn the alibis of impaired mental faculties and intoxication in the ruling and remove the legal escape afforded to allow Pemberton’s homicide conviction.
She said they will work for the junking of the ruling as this gives out a “wrong message” that transgenders can be killed and that perpetrators can have a favorable ruling.
The group also hold President Benigno Aquino III accountable for “siding with the United States” in giving preferential treatment for offenders who flout Philippine laws by virtue of the PH-US Visiting Forces Agreement, as proven by the government’s accession to US demands that Pemberton remain in American custody. (davaotoday.com)