MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines on Tuesday rejected an appeal by a US Marine that it drop a murder case against him in the death of a transgender Filipino woman last year.
A Department of Justice panel said evidence from prosecutors against Pfc Joseph Scott Pemberton showed that he killed Jennifer Laude after picking her up in a bar in Olongapo city in October.
Police said Laude, formerly known as Jeffrey, was found dead with her head inside a toilet bowl in a hotel minutes after Pemberton left the room. The case has refueled opposition to a military agreement between Manila and Washington that allows US custody over American service members accused of crimes in the Philippines.
Pemberton, from Bristol, Massachusetts, took part in combat exercises involving thousands of American and Filipino troops.
US Ambassador Philip Goldberg has said Washington is “sensitive” to Filipino sentiments over the killing and agreed to have Pemberton detained inside a Philippine military camp in Manila but under US guard.