[Statement] On the death of Jeffrey/ Jennifer Laude -KAISA-KA

On the death of Jeffrey/ Jennifer Laude

Pagkakaisa ng Kababaihan para sa Kalayaaan (KAISA KA) is saddened by the death of transgender Jeffrey Laude aka Jennifer Laude found dead 1am today at a hotel in Olongapo City and last seen,according to witnesses, picked up by a U.S. soldier at Ambyanz Disco Bar.

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But more than grieving for the dead, we are angered that our government has knowingly placed us, its citizens, in an untenable position with the extra-territorial privileges we have signed away through the security agreement, Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement or EDCA.

We believe that finding out the truth of what happened to Laude will be difficult as Philippine authorities and Philippine laws seemingly do not apply to U.S. servicemen.

This is true under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and more so under the new Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

Under EDCA, we agreed that rather than utilizing the courts of the Philippines (and the laws governing such), representatives from the Philippines and the United States will be resolved through a series of consultations, outside of any court or tribunal.

We would not be surprised if local authorities are ignored when they try to make procedural inquires from US crewmen. By giving these US servicemen extra-territorial privileges, our government has only made them even more “untouchable” than before.

And by making them “untouchable”, they pose a great security risk to life and property of Filipinos especially since there is no redress if something unfortunate does happen involving US troops.

This could be a litmus test for the EDCA and the VFA, will the Laude case become a cold case and shelved or will PNoy’s administration be able to deliver justice to the victim’s loved ones?

October 12, 2014

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