P4-million compensation for slain Laude’s family still unpaid

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LEYTE, Leyte: The family of slain transgender Jennifer Laude is in the dark on how to secure the P4-million compensation that the court granted them in connection with Laude’s death.

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Julita Cabilan, mother of Laude, told reporters here that their family is yet to hear from their private lawyers, Harry Roque and Virgie Suarez, on how the family can avail of the compensation since they need it to pay for the schooling of Laude’s’ younger siblings, Rex and Maimai.

US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton was convicted of homicide charges for killing Laude in January 2014. Pemberton was later sentenced to 10 years in jail and pay P4 million in damages.

“Pangarap ni Jen na makatapos si Rex at Maimai ng pag-aaral. Kung maaari naman, kahit paano, tumawag man lang o mag-reply… mahirap naman [Jen dreams of Rex and Maimai graduating from college. If they could just… I wish they could call and send a reply (to our text messages)…It’s tough],” Cabilan, a barangay (village) councilwoman in Barangay Matag-ob, Leyte, said.

Cabilan suspects that Roque and Suarez may have harbored ill feelings toward the Laude family because the family was told by Chief Prosecutor Emily delos Santos that they could have pursued conviction of Pemberton even without the help of private prosecutors like Roque and Suarez.

“Sabi kasi sa akin ni Ma’am Emily, sana mas maaga tayo nagkakilala, pareho pa naman tayong Bisaya. Sabi nga sa amin, kami na nga ang nawalan, namatayan, ni piso wala pa kaming nakukuha [Ma’am Emily told us that she wished that we met earlier, since we are both Bisaya. She told us that it’s really too bad that we lost Jen and we are yet to be compensated [in accordance to the court order],” Laude’s mother added, using the nickname of the deceased.

In addition to her exasperation over the murder case of Jennifer, Cabilan said she still feels bad about a statement made by President Benigno Aquino 3rd that he skipped the wake of Laude because the President does not go to wakes of strangers.

And since it was Vice President Jejomar Binay who stopped by the wake of Laude, she added, she would vote for Binay even if she attended the Liberal Party’s campaign stop here where reporters spotted her.

The Presidentheads the LP.

“Binay ako, kasi binigyan niya kami ng P20,000 saka dinamayan niya kami. Pero kahit wala na yung pera, ‘yung di ko makakalimutan eh pumunta siya sa amin [I am voting for Binay because he gave us P20,000 and condoled with us. But sans the money, what is really unforgettable for me is that he went to my son’s wake],” Cabilan said.

She was in the LP rally, she added, because she was told by her husband’s relatives to be supportive of LP administration bet Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd and his running mate, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo.

“I am really for Binay. But my husband and child Rex, they are for Roxas-Robredo,” Cabilan said.

LLANESCA T. PANTI

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