OLONGAPO CITY: The death of a transgender in this city at the hands of a member of the US Marine Corps got mixed reactions from residents here.
A murder charge was filed on Wednesday against Pcf. Joseph Scott Pemberton in the death of Filipino transgender Jeffery “Jennifer” Laude.
Olongapo City Mayor Rolen Pauli-no was saddened by the incident.
“We cannot predict anything. It is however sad that this had happened when things are picking up, business-wise for the city,” Paulino said.
The mayor said security in the city has been tight since the incident, adding that “it is such as shame that this happened. Wala naman may gusto na mangyari ito. [Nobody wants this to happen].”
“Our local police did their job because in just two days, we positively identified the suspect and we have already filed charges,” Paulino added.
Celzone Lodge, where the lifeless body of Laude was found, is located along the famous Magsaysay Drive, a long stretch of mixed business establishment like bars, restaurants, food chains and hotels which are frequented by local and foreign tourists, including the American servicemen aboard the ships docked at the Subic Bay Freeport.
Even the two malls located in the city and inside Subic Bay Freeport were full.
But when the US Navy implemented a lockdown on October 12, the long stretch of Magsaysay Drive was silent while the malls were almost empty.
A hotel staff said that the day after the transgender was killed, all their American clients checked out.
“Minsan na nga lang mapuno ang hotel namin pag nandito sila [Americans] bigla naman nagyari yung ganyan, nakakalungkot [Our hotel becomes full only when the Americans are here, suddenly something happened, it’s sad] ,” said the staff who asked not to be named.
Olongapo residents also expressed their sentiments in the Batang Gapo Facebook page, which has close to 25,000 members.
“Kasalanan ng isa, hindi kasalanan ng lahat. Kahit naman sa US may mga Pinoy din na nagkakasala dapat fair tayo, ‘wag nating lahatin and ang dasal nalang natin na sana mabigyan ng tamang hatol ang kaso [One’s fault is not everybody’s fault. Even in the US, there are Filipinos who violate the law, we should be fair, let’s not generalize and let’s just pray that justice will prevail in this case, ” Joseph Torres posted.