The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied the petition of the family of transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude for the transfer United States Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton in a regular jail.
Pemberton was charged for the murder of transgender Laude last October 2014.
Pemberton is now detained at the Mutual Defense Board (MDB) and Security Engagement Board (SEB) facility in Camp Aguinaldo on the basis of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the US.
The US insists that the VFA provides for their custody of American servicemen until completion of all judicial proceedings.
During the SC en banc deliberations, the high court ruled to dismiss the petition for lack of grave abuse of discretion of the lower court in not allowing Pemberton to be out of US custody, in Camp Aguinaldo.
The 15-man court also ruled that the Laude family failed “to comply with the three- day notice rule” to the other parties.
On the constitutionality issue of the VFA, the SC ruled that it is not the main issue in the case at hand, which the court must not discuss.
The Laude family, through Marilou and Mesehilda Laude, elevated the case to the high court after Olongapo RTC Judge Roline Jimenez-Jabalde denied the plea.
Under the petition, the Laude family insists that the Philippine government should have custody of US military personnel charged with committing cases such as murder while the case is being heard by the court.
Main respondents to the case are Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, AFP chief Gregorio Pio Catapang jr., Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, and Olongapo Chief prosecutor Emilie Fe Delos Santos.