Philippines: US marine charged with murder of transgender woman
A US Marine has been charged with the murder of a Filipino transgender woman in Olongapo.
It comes after 26-year-old Jennifer Laude Sueselbeck was found strangled on Saturday night, naked with her head in the toilet.
Police at the time announced they were looking for a suspect, last seen wearing a white and blue striped shirt with white sleeves, black shorts, and a military haircut.
US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton – who was one of hundreds of US marines in the area for a training exercise – was detained over the incident on Monday, along with three potential witnesses.
Today, Mr Pemberton, of the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, was formally charged with the woman’s murder.
The victim’s sister Marilou Laude said: “We will not accept anything less than justice.”
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: “We will continue to cooperate fully with the Philippine law enforcement authorities in every aspect of the investigation.”
Politicians in the Philippines are pushing for a tougher anti-discrimination law following the incident, which has also stirred anti-US sentiment.
Senator Bam Aquino said: “We should impose heavier penalties so that these discriminatory and inhumane acts will be eradicated.”
He has pushed for a new bill entitled the Anti-Discrimination Act of 2014 which seeks to prohibit and penalise discrimination of any form, citing a rising number of hate crimes against LGBT people has risen in the past years..