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[Blog] The Killing of Jennifer is the Central Issue not her sexuality and gender: the VFA as a symbol of National Shame by Jose Mario De Vega

The Killing of Jennifer is the Central Issue not her sexuality and gender: the VFA as a symbol of National Shame
by Jose Mario De Vega

I refer to Rina Jimenez-David’s “Tangential issues”, At Large, PDI, October 17th with regard to the gruesome and barbaric killing of Jennifer (aka Jeffrey) Laude, “a transgender individual, in a motel room in Olongapo City allegedly by an American Marine taking part in war games here, is the “nature” of Jennifer and whether she was plying the “world’s oldest profession” or was merely out for a good time.””

Mario De Vega

I’m my view, the most tangential and substantive issue is not whether “she was a “trannie” in a land where there is still considerable social and legal discrimination against gays” or because in order for her, “to earn money to put a sibling through school and pay for other expenses, she was engaged in prostitution”, rather is it her gruesome and horrible killing.

The killing of a helpless human being: That is the central issue!

Indeed, Ms. David is absolutely correct in her contention that:

“Of course, it’s irrelevant and immaterial whether Jennifer was a prostitute or simply a good-time gal. She did not deserve to die simply because she was not “fully” a woman, in the same way that women (and men) engaged in the flesh trade cannot be raped, beaten up, or killed simply because they failed to satisfy their customers.”

Yet, instead of seeing it that way, her murder and death has only shown the apathy, the idiocy, the bigotry and the mental discrimination still running on the minds of some people of this country.

Again, to quote Ms. David:

“But her being transgender has trained a light as well on the realities of life for those whose sexuality and sexual orientation lie beyond the pale. Certainly appalling are comments that Filipinos are raising too much fuss about Jennifer’s killing, as if the death of a transgender person deserves less outrage and pain than the murder of a “normal” woman or man. Or that a prostitute’s life is not worth grieving or agonizing over, as if human rights apply only to those living righteous lives.”

I am wondering, what if it is a Filipino man who killed an American transgender, or if it is an American transgender that killed a Filipino woman, will there be a change to their moronic charges and idiotic comments?

To me, the fact remains and that fact is “that murder is murder, whether committed by a Filipino or an American, and must be prosecuted with the full force of the law.”

It is on this juncture that I am condemning to the utmost, some of our countrymen for their discrimination, bigotry, idiocy and even their colonial mentality.

As a Humanist, I don’t give a damn whether the one who violated the law is a man or a woman, “in between” or a transgender; that fact that he or she violated the law is enough for the said felon to be brought to the bar of justice.

In the same vein, I also don’t give a damn whether the offender is a local citizen or a foreigner, if they violated the law, hence they must answer — whoever the hell they are, whatever the hell they are!

On Humanity

As I’ve stated in one article, “Everyone deserves love”, The Star Malaysia, August 3, 2011:

“Transgenders are our fellow human beings; the only difference is that we are certain of our sexual orientation and gender affiliation.

“They also deserve to be loved and cherished. It is their inherent natural human right to love and be loved, regardless and irrespective of their abnormalities, deformities and physiological-sexual limitations.

“The dichotomy of the individual and that of society has long been settled by both sociology and anthropology. The presence of varied elements is precisely one of the key ingredients for society to grow and develop.

“Such a society would undeniably be vibrant, humane, accommodative to change and refreshingly adaptive to the prevailing circumstances.”

I am sad and it is with a heavy heart on my part to state that this bastard country is not that tolerant and open when it comes to the those people that belongs to the LGBT community!

This society is inhumane and discriminative!

That should not be the case, by virtue of the fact that the equal protection clause of the Constitution is anti-sexism, anti-discrimination, anti-racism and against all forms of cruelty. It is a document of justice, equality and fairness.

Yet, sad but true, such is not the case!


On the Question of the VFA and EDCA

I overwhelmingly concur with Professor Walden Bello that the presence of the US military to our country is dangerous to our people’s welfare.

As he stated categorically in his article, Afterthoughts, Fatal encounters: Jennifer meets US Marine Corps, PDI, October 20th:

“When we opposed the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the so-called Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), one of our key reasons was to prevent our civilian population from again becoming collateral damage as victims of rape, murder, and hate crimes, as many of them were prior to the withdrawal of the big US bases in 1992.

“The rape of Nicole by another US Marine, Daniel Smith, in 2005 confirmed our worst fears. Now an even more brutal crime has taken place. No doubt there will be apologists who will say that the Nicole and Jennifer cases are “isolated incidents,” that these are outweighed by the benefits of the presence of American troops, as Senator Antonio Trillanes IV is supposed to have claimed. Such assertions are increasingly hollow, especially since Washington is not committed to defending our territories in the West Philippine Sea in the first place, since it says it won’t intervene in sovereignty disputes in the Spratlys.

“To prevent future incidents, some have proposed tighter regulation of shore leave or more intensive instruction of American troops on the “rules of engagement” with the civilian population. But again, why be satisfied with these half measures when those troops don’t need to be here in the first place since they do not promote our national security.”

On the implementation of the VFA

In my view, only a moron, or worst an extreme idiot of the lowest order will failed miserably to see that this so-called agreement between the Philippines and the United States of America is not only a lopsided agreement but undeniably a continuation and perpetuation of US colonization of this utterly damned and super stupid country.

As Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago emphatically stated:

“We are a stillborn state because our umbilical cord from the US has never been cut…”
The VFA is not only a failure, but a shame to us all

It is a basic rule of criminal procedure that jurisdiction includes custody, now base on that bullshit agreement, it states there that while the Philippines has jurisdiction over erring US officers, Article V, Paragraph 6 of the VFA states:

“The custody of any United States personnel over whom the Philippines is to exercise jurisdiction shall immediately reside with the United States military authorities, if they so request.”

This is not only a “gross inequality” but a bastardization of the sovereignty and dignity of the whole country.

Again to quote Senator Santiago:

“If the Philippines has primary jurisdiction, then it follows that the Philippines should have custody. But this logic is spurned by the VFA…”

This is a shame!!!

Jose Mario Dolor De Vega

Philosophy and Social Science lecturer
Unibersidad de Manila

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