MANILA (Xinhua) – After the United States denied its request, the Philippine government said on Thursday that it won’t continue seeking custody of US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton recently charged of murdering a Filipino transgender.
While it expressed “disappointment” by the US rejection of its request for custody, the Philippine government acknowledged that the US decision is “not inconsistent” with the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) that the United States retains custody while the Philippines have criminal jurisdiction over the case.
However, Philippine Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Jose said that the country will make sure that the US marine will be detained in a Philippine detention facility once he is convicted.
“They (the US) have to comply because that is clearly stated in the VFA,” Jose said.
Pemberton, 19, is accused of murdering Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, 26, a Filipino transgender woman, on Oct 21.
He was transferred from the USS Peleliu, where he was detained for several days, to Camp Aguinaldo, a Philippine military base located in Quezon City, but the custody remains with the US government.
A regional trial court in northern Philippine city of Olongapo issued an arrest warrant for Pemberton on Tuesday. After that, the Philippine government formally requested the US government through its embassy to turn over the suspect, but the request was denied.