PH dared to ‘grow spine’ in Pemberton custody issue | Inquirer News
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PH dared to ‘grow spine’ in Pemberton custody issue

/ 02:55 PM December 18, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—A militant group on Thursday challenged the Philippine government to be assertive in seeking custody of the US Marine accused of killing transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude amid opposition from the US.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said the Philippine government should stand up against the United States, which it called an “imperialist bully.”

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“Our officials should grow a spine and stand up to the imperialist bully that is the US. They have gotten so much from the VFA yet when we seek justice for a murdered Filipino, our demands are rejected,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said in a statement.

Reyes said the Aquino administration should take steps to abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and remove the “special treatment” being accorded to US troops.

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“The Philippine government should not just roll over and accept the US position on the custody of suspected murderer US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton. Why is the Aquino government meekly accepting the US rejection of the Philippines’ position? Why has there been no move to terminate the VFA and strip US troops of the special treatment accorded to them?” Reyes said.

He added that the rejection of Philippines’ demand for Pemberton’s custody and his transfer to a local jail is an insult to Filipinos.

“We are being insulted by the US ambassador (Philip Goldberg) as he keeps invoking the vague provisions of the VFA in retaining custody over Pemberton,” Reyes added.

On Tuesday, Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 74 issued an arrest warrant for Pemberton after he was indicted for Laude’s murder on Monday.

Shortly after the murder charge was filed against Pemberton, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) requested the US government to hand over the custody of the US Marine. The US government, however, denied the request on Wednesday.

“The VFA states that the United States has the right to retain custody of a suspect from the commission of the alleged offense until completion of all judicial proceedings,” the US embassy said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the DFA expressed disappointment on the action of the US on the custody case of Pemberton.

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“We are disappointed that the US has chosen to invoke their rights under the VFA to maintain custody of the accused,” the DFA said on Wednesday.

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US rejects PH demand for custody of Pemberton

PH demands custody of Pemberton

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TAGS: Bayan, custody, Jennifer Laude, Joseph Scott Pemberton, Renato Reyes, Visiting Forces Agreement
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