American witnesses over transgender killing left PHL

Four US soldiers who are witnesses over the killing of a Filipino transgender allegedly by an American serviceman left the country. This was confirmed by Department of Foreign Affairs after getting the information from US Embassy in Manila.

“DFA was not informed by the US side that four witnesses were leaving the country. They are not required to do so,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said.

These American witnesses have already provided their sworn affidavits. However, Olongapo Prosecutor’s office is requiring them to attend the preliminary investigation tomorrow, October 21.

Even though they left, US government committed that they will be available during the trial. “The US has given assurance that they will make available the witnesses at the trial,” Jose noted.

“The witnesses will not appear on Tuesday, as they have already met their current legal obligations. In accordance with the VFA, the witnesses will be made available for the trial,” US Embassy said over the weekend. “Whether the suspect will appear on Tuesday is a decision that the suspect will make.”

While Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton may appear or choose not to attend the prelims tomorrow at his own expense. “He’s risking a decision that will be unfavorable to him. If the prosecutor recommends the filing of murder charges against him, that’s his problem,” Jose said. “His legal adviser should advise him to appear.”