ILIGAN City, Oct. 18, 2014—A Catholic prelate emphasizes the slay of 26-year old transgender Jeffrey Laude allegedly by an American serviceman calls for immediate justice, not condemnation of his choice of gender.
Talking to Church-run Radyo Veritas recently, Iligan Bishop Elenito R. Galido asserted there is no point in judging the victim based on his sexual orientation, when what is needed is justice.
“Killing a person is crime whether the victim is transgender or not. We do not discriminate. It’s clear enough there is a crime we have to seek justice for,” he explained.
“The mother [of Laude] is correct: We are asking for justice. We do not condemn. We do not judge or anything. We are seeking justice,” added Galido, who chairs the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s Espicopal Comminssion on Culture (ECC).
Laude, a transgender who went by the name Jennifer, was found dead on Saturday, Oct. 11, inside the bathroom of a motel room in Olongapo City, where he was last seen with Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton of the United States Marines.
Initial investigations reveal that Laude was allegedly murdered by Pemberton.
Evidence indicates the suspect had used force, and had intended to kill Laude by drowning him in the toilet bowl.
Meanwhile, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo expects the government will do everything in its power to ensure foreign nationals will respect the rights of Filipino citizens, especially in their own country.
“The government must deal strictly with transgressors. It must run after and punish criminals, regardless of their nationality or economic status,” he shared.
Pabillo, who also heads CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (ECPA), said the public should not use Laude’s sexual orientation against him, stressing it is more important to focus on the case at hand and how justice can be served. (Raymond A. Sebastián)