Updated: Sep 9, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 8, 2020
Contact: Ariana Rodriguez, GABRIELA LA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Los Angeles Filipinas: Justice for Jennifer Laude!
"Like Vanessa Guillen's unspeakable murder by a member of the U.S. military, the murder of Jennifer Laude and the slap on the wrist Joseph Scott Pemberton received for it are more proof that U.S. armed forces are not meant to protect but to exact violence. "GABRIELA Los Angeles joins the international calls for justice for Jennifer Laude and all Filipino women who have been killed or whose rights have been violated by the U.S. military and U.S.-backed armed forces in the Philippines. We denounce President Duterte’s pardoning of Jennifer’s killer, U.S. Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton who served only six years of a ten year sentence for brutal murder. "This is yet another example of the violence inflicted on trans and cisgender women and gender minorities in the Philippines by the imperialist presence of the American military and well as the U.S.-funded Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP). Pemberton, originally charged with murder, was granted a lesser charge of homicide by the Philippine courts and authorities after bowing to U.S. pressure. The Supreme Court denied the Laude family’s request to send Pemberton to Olongapo City Jail in the Philippines, instead he was separately held under special treatment in Camp Aguinaldo and now released under “good conduct,” in accordance with the ongoing U.S. stranglehold on Philippine policy. "Pemberton’s release is especially unconscionable in light of the completely unjust arrests of women’s rights leaders Jenelyn Nagrampa and Cora Agovida, and Rappler CEO and journalist Maria Ressa, revealing that President Duterte does not care for the rights and welfare of women or the Filipino people. Rather his actions reveal him to be no more than a macho-fascist puppet to the U.S., its military, and its interests. “We echo the Laude family's statement that 'Laude’s death personifies the death of Philippine sovereignty, and the light penalty imposed on Pemberton proves that despite the President’s independent foreign policy, that Americans continue to have the status of conquering colonials in our country.' "Every year, the US continues to pour millions of American taxpayer money into funding the armed forces that have committed countless acts of gender-based violence and extra judicial killings. In return, the Philippines continues to hold US interests over the interests of its own people, despite having “independence” from the US. "GABRIELA LA repeats our call to oust the Duterte administration that has sold out the Philippine people to the US through corruption and greed. We call to Junk the Visiting Forces Agreement and uphold Philippine sovereignty. We call on U.S. citizens to support the Philippine Human Rights Act, which would suspend U.S. security aid to the Philippines until such a time that human rights violations have ceased and those who are responsible are held accountable. We call for justice for Jennifer Laude, Vanessa Guillen, and for all of those who have been killed by the U.S. military or by the U.S.-backed armed forces of the Philippines."