10 October 2016 - Two years after Subic resident Jennifer Laude was found dead from a violent sexual encounter with US marine private Joseph Scott Pemberton, militant women’s groups are urging Congress to follow the lead of President Rodrigo Duterte in assessing the real benefits and harm from the military alliance treaties and exercises between the United States and the Philippines.
In a privilege speech delivered at the plenary of the House of Representatives today, Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Emmi De Jesus said that the Duterte administration must call for the transfer of Pemberton, convicted by the Subic trial court with the crime of homicide, from his cell that is under the jurisdiction of the United States military but built inside Camp Aguinaldo, a Philippine military facility.
The women's partylist group is also seeking the support of colleagues for House Resolution 420 expressing the sense of the House in support of President Duterte’s unequivocal pronouncement calling for the cessation of the Philippines- United States of America (PH-US) joint military exercises permitted under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
“Hindi maitatanggi na ang pagpatay kay Jennifer ay isa na naming larawan ng bulnerabilidad ng ating mga kababayan lalo na ng kababaihan na maging biktima ng iba’t ibang anyo ng karahasan sa kamay ng mga dayuhang sundalo. Napatunayan na natin ito sa kasaysayan, na higit pang umiiral ang culture of impunity sa panig ng mga sundalong sangkot sa iba’t ibang krimen at pang-aabuso,” De Jesus said.
Gabriela chapters worldwide are holding commemoration events today and tomorrow with other anti-war groups in demanding genuine justice for Laude. They insist that her killer Pemberton, now detained at the US-controlled jail inside a Philippine military camp, should be handed over to Philippine penitentiary facilities to end the continuing violation of the country’s sovereignty.