Philippines: US marine charged with murder of trans woman claims ‘no probable cause’
A US marine formally accused of murdering a transgender woman in the Philippines said there was no basis to charge him, his lawyer told state prosecutors on Monday.
It comes after 26-year-old Jennifer Laude Sueselbeck was found strangled on this month, naked with her head in the toilet.
US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton – who was one of hundreds of US marines in the area for a training exercise – was formally charged of the woman’s murder a few days later.
According to The Age, Pemberton’s lawyer filed a motion to “declare the absence of probable cause for murder or any other crime”.
Chief prosecutor Fe de los Santos told Pemberton’s lawyer: “We will rule on probable cause after we complete the process. Don’t teach us what to do.
“The bottom line is we will go on with the preliminary 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.