Photos: GABRIELA Ph Facebook page, Philippine Daily Inquirer.
I’m not sure how much this has been around Tumblr but I’ve seen surprisingly little on other social media. A 26-year-old trans woman named Jennifer Laude was recently found dead after spending the night in a hotel with a visiting US Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton. CCTV footage of the two of them together exists. He is a clear suspect in her murder but the US army has not released him to Philippine authorities.
The Philippines currently has a Visiting Forces Agreement with the US that basically means they continue to be under a form of US occupation despite being an ostensibly indepedent nation. There’s also a more recent agreement signed by Obama and President Aquino, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, that further entrenches this. There are a whole hell of a lot of US bases there and if you go anywhere with US bases, you are going to find a hell of a lot of violence against local women committed with impunity. This is going to be particularly the case with already marginalised women.
Activists are calling for the release of Pemberton to Philippine authorities, but more broadly, for an end to the VFA and EDCA that shield violent soldiers from their crimes against local people. Basically: sure, charge Pemberton, but after that, get the hell out, because US imperialism is always violence against women.