MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The murder trial involving US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, the prime suspect in the death of transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, should be covered live by the media, the Laude family said.
The family of Laude went to the Supreme Court to ask that the murder trial be carried out live by media because the Filipino people “have the right to know what is happening in the proceedings.
“More importantly, the so-called fourth estate has the constitutionally guaranteed protection to report on matters of great public interest, including the criminal proceedings in this case,” the petitioners argued.
The desire of the Laude family for a public trial now lies in the hands of the Supreme Court as the petition had been denied twice by the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court.
The petitioners added that it is only through live media coverage that their relatives in and family members in Leyte, their hometown, would get to know about the developments in the trial of Pemberton’s case.
In asking the Supreme Court to allow live media coverage, the petitioners said that they have the right to access to justice, which they added is guaranteed and recognized not only by the Constitution but also international laws and treaties such as the United Nations Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crimes and Abuse of Power.
Scott Joseph Pemberton was tagged as the main suspect in the death of Laude. Pemberton allegedly picked up Laude in a Philippine bar then brought him to a motel.
Laude was found dead, with his head sunk into the toilet bowl.
This is the second reported criminal case involving a United States Marine in the Philippines under the existing Philippines–United States Visiting Forces Agreement.
The case has spawned protests in the Philippines by transgender rights and leftist activists.
Pemberton was in the Philippines as part of regular military exercises. His ship was docked at Subic Bay Freeport, former home of the Subic Bay Naval Base, at one time one of the largest US Navy bases outside the United States. – BusinessNewsAsia.com