Filipino Transgender Jeffrey ‘Jennifer’ Laude Severely Beaten, Another Hate Crime?

OLONGAPO CITY—Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude was severely beaten before being killed allegedly by a US Marine in a motel in Olongapo City, according to media report released on Friday.

Laude died from “asphyxia by drowning” and that the transgender’s body revealed contusions and blood clots on the scalp, chest, arms and legs.

Filipino Transgender Jeffrey ‘Jennifer’ Laude Severely Beaten, Another Hate Crime? © ABS-CBN File Photo

Laude had visible “cuts and bruising on head and neck which include a cut on her tongue, bruising around her eyes and cheekbones, and abrasions on her left forearm and right leg, stated lead investigator SPO3 Tyrone Tecson in a police report. He stated that the killing of Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude  is considered “crime of hatred,” and a result of “a sex service gone wrong” when the suspect, US Marine Pvt. 1st Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, “discovered that his sex partner was homosexual.”

Laude was discovered dead at Celzone Lodge in Olongapo City on Saturday, October 11. An earlier police report said the victim’s head “was leaning” against the toilet bowl while her “lower body was partially covered with a color cream blanket.”

Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude’s murder has sparked outrage within the Philippine’s LGBT community.

Rallies have been reported in recent days urgently requesting the Philippine government step up efforts to get U.S. Marine PFC Joseph Pemberton, the man suspected of Laude’s murder, into their custody.

In a news conference, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Assistant Secretary Charles Jose stated the Philippine government will seek custody of Pemberton after the court issues a warrant for his arrest.

Meanwhile, Atty. Carlos Isagani Zarate and Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares filed House Bill No. 1842 that criminalizes social discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals. The proposal is currently being discussed by a technical working group in the House of Representatives, initiated as an attempt to define LGBT in the country’s legal and social setting, Zarate said.

HB 1842 which penalizes hate crimes, said Baguio family court lawyer Ruth Bawayan who added that lawmakers must be encouraged to define sexual orientation to protect the LGBT sector better.

At present, the judicial process does not make any distinction between straight male/female orientations and the LGBT, which means that violent crimes involving this sector are rarely tried in the proper context in court, Bawayan said.

In 2005, Smith, another US serviceman, was charged with rape by a Filipino woman and detained at the Makati City jail for several weeks, until he was freed by the US ambassador and kept at the US Embassy despite being convicted by a regional trial court. He was later released after the complainant retracted her testimony.