MANILA – A lawyer for the family of murdered Filipino Transgender Jeffrey Jennifer Laude on Saturday said a star witness has been admitted to government’s Witness Protection Program (WPP).
Atty. Harry Roque wrote on his Twitter account:
I am pleased to announce that WPP has just admitted. “Barbie”,star witness in the Laude murder case. Witnes now en route to safe house. Yes!
Barbie identified Pemberton from a series of photos of American servicemen who went to Ambyanz Disco on October 11.
According to ABS-CBN News, Barbie was the one who positively identified US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton as the man last seen with Laude before she was discovered dead in a hotel room in Olongapo City last October 11.
In her sworn statement, Barbie stated that she accompanied Laude and Pemberton to the motel room they were staying in at the Celzone Lodge.
Barbie said she left Laude and Pemberton in the room when she went out with an acquaintance and stayed in another room also in the Celzone Lodge.
Barbie also added that a room attendant knocked on her door at 11.46pm with news that Laude had passed out in the bathroom of her room.
“My child is traumatised, could not sleep nor eat. I am afraid for my child.”
It was a statement coming from Barbie’s father in a radio interview. He asked for protection from President Benigno Aquino.
The 19-year-old Pemberton is assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, onboard US warship West Pacific Express. He is currently under US custody, following a provision in the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) signed between the Philippines and the United States.
American authorities took custody of Pemberton and three other American servicemen who were with him at the disco prior to the death of Laude. They were incarcerated inside a US warship that docked in Subic Bay on October 11.
Meanwhile, Philippine government did not allow two US warships from leaving Subic Bay.
The police sent a charge sheet to Manila’s foreign affairs department on Friday, for the subpoena of Pemberton.
The US-Philippine Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), signed in 1998, has served as guideline for the resumption of the holding of annual large-scale war games between American and Filipino soldiers in the Philippines starting 2000.