MANILA – Philippine Immigration has ordered the deportation a U.S. Marine once his trial and possible sentence for the murder of a transgender Filipino woman a year ago are over, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.
Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, who is being held at a U.S. facility at an army base in Manila, has been charged with the murder of Jennifer Laude, who was found dead on Oct. 11 last year in a hotel in Olongapo City, near a former U.S. naval base north of Manila.
Elaine Tan, spokeswoman for the immigration bureau, said the U.S. Marine was declared “a risk to public interest for being an undesirable alien” and would be deported once his murder trial and any subsequent jail term were over.
Pemberton would be deported even if the court found him innocent, she said.
Corporal Pemberton had met Ms. Laude in an Olongapo City nightclub while he was on liberty during military exercises, then accompanied her to a nearby hotel room, where she was later found dead.
He said that he brought Ms. Laude and another woman to the hotel, not knowing that they were transgender. He received oral sex from the women, he said, and one then left to buy condoms. Ms. Laude remained in the room, and he reached down to touch her vagina.
“He said they began fighting when he discovered that she had a penis,” Emilie Fe Delos Santos, the prosecutor in the case, said by phone from Olongapo City, about 80 miles north of Manila. In his testimony, Corporal Pemberton said that he pushed Ms. Laude, she slapped him, he punched her, then he choked her with an arm lock until she was no longer moving.
Pemberton faces jail term of 20 years to life if found guilty. A verdict is expected in December
The case against Corporal Pemberton has complicated diplomatic relations between the United States and the Philippines. The countries entered into a military agreement last year that would bring thousands of United States service members, as well as ships, planes and equipment, to the Philippines on a rotating basis. The agreement is in limbo while the Philippine Supreme Court considers several cases that claim it is unconstitutional.