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Death of Filipino Transgender "Jennifer" Laude Was Totally Preventable

he United States and Philippine governmentsUnited States Marine Private 1st Class Joseph Scott Pemberton share the blame for the tragedy. Two young lives needlessly destroyed: the first, a young Filipino transgender found strangled inside a motel bathroom; the second a teenaged American serviceman now accused of murder.

What took place that fateful evening of October 11th—when Jeffrey Laude, 26, a transgender who went by the name "Jennifer," and his companion United States Marine Private 1st Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, 19, checked into the Celzone Lodge in Olongapo City—are still under investigation. What we know is that the couple checked-in at 10:30 pm, Pemberton left the motel approximately an hour later, and Laude's lifeless body was found on the bathroom floor shortly before midnight.

What we also know for sure is that many neighborhoods in Olongapo City are not the most wholesome of places. Sitting just outside the former US Naval Base of Subic Bay, for decades the city attracted the dregs of society. Prostitutes, drug dealers, scam artists, thieves, and the criminal syndicates behind all of them operated out of Olongapo. Like rats lured by the irresistible scent of cheese, it was the US Dollar—the greenbacks in the wallets of American servicemen—that drove them there. The US Navy left its sprawling naval base in 1992, but old habits die hard in Olongapo. The city is still home to subsequent generations of riffraff out to make the occasional visiting foreigner quickly part with his money.

As we noted in our previous editorial LINK, Olongapo's unsavory reputation is no secret. Both the Philippine and United States governments know what goes on in the streets of that city. Even Filipino parents warn their adolescent children to stay away from places like Olongapo. Why no restrictions were placed by either government on the visiting American troops is beyond comprehension.

The United States, developed the Subic Bay naval facility. They ran it for almost a hundred years (1899-1992). They know what Olongapo City is all about. So why did they give their troops, many like Pemberton still in their teens, access to that city? In addition, how could the US Navy not be sensitive to the cultural differences between Americans and Filipinos. Filipinos in many ways are more accepting of homosexuals than Americans. Jeffery "Jennifer" Laude (R), with German fiancé Marc SueselbeckLocal TV shows regularly feature outwardly gay celebrities. US Naval authorities could have provided their young troops with recreation and entertainment alternatives instead of allowing them roam the streets of Olongapo on their own.

As for the Philippines, the government must not forget that these young servicemen are guests. They may be in Subic Bay as part of a military training exercise but they are still guests. And world renowned "Filipino hospitality" demands that Filipinos take good care of their guests. "Filipino hospitality" should also encompass being culturally sensitive. Unlike Filipinos, the average American is not used to cross-dressers and drag-queens.  More importantly, gays in the US hook-up with other gays, unlike Filipino homosexuals who often prefer hooking-up with "straight" males. If only Philippine authorities had been sensitive to such cultural differences and put appropriate safeguards in place, this tragedy tragedy would have easily been avoided.

At this point in time it must be stressed that the Philippines appears to need the US more than the US needs the Philippines. The Chinese want nothing better than to drive a wedge between Americans and Filipinos. And one should not put it beneath the Chinese to stoke the flames and fund those who want the Visiting Forces Agreement between both countries abrogated. Chinese military leaders must be grinning from ear to ear hoping Filipinos drive away the Americans. Then the Chinese can simply walk in and take what they want in the West Philippine Sea.

As we pointed out earlier, both the United States and the Philippine governments through negligence and insensitivity created this mess. Now both governments must clean it up to the satisfaction of both Filipinos and Americans. Published 10/19/2014


Philnews.com reserves the right to select and edit comments for publication.

Comments from Our  Readers
(Topic: Both US and PHL Governments to Blame for Death of Jeffery "Jennifer" Laude)

Name: John Sailor
City/State/Country: Manhattan Beach, CA
IP Address: 12.151.91.2

Comments

[Someone] avers, "The tragic death of Laude is a HATE CRIME motivated by prejudice against a social group." SIR, you are drawing a wayward, irresponsible conclusion. How would you know him as a man hating gays? I have lived in a Marine Corps housing complex in Camp Pendleton. Gays, tomboys in the service in US Marine, Navy, Air Force, Army are tolerated, not hated. Pvt 1st Class Pemberton himself was a victim of DECEIT & TRICKERY. SIR, there are people who cannot take it being deceived and hoodwinked. People would rather kill than being a victim of deception.


Name: HMSomeone
City/State/Country: USA
IP Address: 74.77.36.177

Comments

Just like I said China must be beaming at the incident. In fact their surrogates in the PHL, the militant communists are already hard at work to scrap the VFA. And so responsible Filipinos should put this incident in the proper context. It is a sex scam that got blown. Nothing more and nothing less. Responsible Filipinos should also realize that if the VFA is abrogated and the US withdraws from the exercises the only big loser is the PHL! Ang malas naman ng PHL! The only country willing to help them is the USA and this thing has to happen.


Name: Jorge Villanueva
City/State/Country: Canada
IP Address: 47.54.135.169

Comments

Jennifer Laude's case is complicated by multiplicity of issues. It brings to focus the question of whether crime was committed as part of a human rights violation, a hatred of her gender or a straight forward crime of passion Perchance, others will have to confront their ignorance or prejudice to the vulnerable segment of society. It will also measure the strength or tenuous hold the agreement is, between two sovereign countries, undoubtedly how this case will affect its present and future relationship.


Name: Steve R
City/State/Country: California
IP Address: 98.234.22.41

Comments

In response to militants carrying signs that read: SCRAP VFA – EDCA, Malacañang came out swinging by stating that the Visiting Forces Agreement VFA and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement EDCA is much bigger picture than the death of Laude. Secretary Coloma Jr. also stated that “The US and the Philippines are one in saying that we will both help each other in achieving justice. We will ensure that the rule of law will be followed,” Coloma said in Filipino. Don’t have an aluminum centavo but I’m willing to bet my last red penny that the militants doing the rallies are communist sympathizer and getting their marching orders from Sison, the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines.


Philippine NewsLink reserves the right to select and edit comments for publication.

RECENT EDITORIALS

Death of Filipino Transgender 'Jennifer' Laude Was Totally Preventable

The evening for the young US Marine and his Filipino date "Jennifer" began at the Ambyanz Disco Bar in Subic Bay, Olongapo and ended shortly before midnight at the Celzone Lodge where "Jennifer's" lifeless body was found leaning against the toilet bowl. Jennifer, it turns out was actually not originally a "she" but a "he." A Filipino transgender, Jeffrey Laude, 26, began calling himself "Jennifer" after medical procedures made him look more female than male. Published 10/14/2014


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