UP protesters burn US flag for Jennifer
MANILA, Philippines—Members of the UP community burned a mock flag of the United States on campus Friday to express indignation over the killing of a Filipino transgender woman allegedly by an American soldier—and over President Benigno Aquino III’s continuing “silence” on the gruesome crime.
As they set the cartolina flag on fire at the steps of Palma Hall, professors, students and staff members of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, called for the abolition of the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the more recent Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) between Manila and Washington.
It was the latest protest action in UP over the death of Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, 26, whose body was found Oct. 11 in a hotel room in Subic, the former US naval base.
The police have filed murder charges against the suspect, Pvt. 1st Class Joseph Scott Pemberton of the US Marine Corps, who was part of the visiting troops that recently concluded exercises with the Philippine military under the VFA.
By signing the Edca during the visit of US President Barack Obama in April, Mr. Aquino “personally allowed our women and the LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders) community to be the sexual pastime of US troops and allowed the United States to trample on our laws,” said Cha France, chair of Stand UP.
The assembly also included members of the UP Diliman Gender Office, the League of Filipino Students, and the Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (Contend).
France noted that President Aquino had yet to issue a statement condemning the brutal killing of Laude.
In a statement, Contend “urge[d] our people not to be deceived by the posturing of some sectors of our society who demand justice for Laude but insist that we need the American presence in our country to defend our territories.”
“We also express our full support for all transgender Filipinos who are struggling to end all forms of discrimination,” it said. Erika Sauler
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.