The Philippine government has formally asked the United States to turn over to its custody the US Marine who was charged for the murder of a Filipino transgender woman in Olongapo City, Zambales, in October this year.
“We welcome the progress made so far on the case, and as we stated earlier, we will now formally seek custody over the accused PFC Joseph Scott Pemberton,” a Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) statement said after the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court issued an arrest warrant for the serviceman on Tuesday.
“In accordance with the Visiting Forces Agreement, we look forward to the full cooperation of the US government in ensuring that justice is secured for Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude,” it added.
DFA spokesman Charles Jose said the department is preparing to serve the warrant for Pemberton at the US Embassy in Manila.
Pemberton, who was among the thousands of American troops who participated in a military training in the country, was identified by witnesses as the primary suspect in the killing of Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, who was found dead inside a motel where they checked in on October 11.
He is currently detained inside a container van in Camp Aguinaldo, the Philippine military’s headquarters in Quezon City, but is being guarded by US authorities.
The US government maintains that Pemberton should be in its custody until the case is resolved.