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US marine detained in slaying of Philippines trans woman

US marine detained in slaying of Philippines trans woman

A US marine has been detained in the murder of a Philippine transgender woman.

Jennifer Laude, 26, was found dead on Saturday night with her head in a hotel toilet in Olongapo city.

Media reports say she checked into the hotel at 11pm with a ‘male, white foreigner’ and her body was discovered by a cleaner at 11.45pm.

Police said there were signs of strangulation.

A friend of the victim said Laude, also known as Ganda, met the man at a nearby bar and invited him back to the hotel with them. She said Laude asked her to leave before the man found out they were transgender.

Both the cleaner and the friend described the man as having marine-style haircut of hair, between 5’8" and 5’10" tall and between 25 and 30 years old. The suspect was wearing  a white and blue striped shirt with white sleeves and black shorts when he checked into the hotel.

A US Marine was detained yesterday aboard the USS Peleliu, according to an internal navy memo obtained by the Marine Corps Times.

The marine is assigned to 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Three potential witnesses from the same unit have also been detained aboard the ship.

The USS Peliliu and another ship arrived at a US naval base in Olongapo last month for joint war exercises and a further 500 sailors called at the port last week.

Emmi De Jesus, representative for the Gabriela Women’s Party, demanded President Aquino intervene to swiftly mobilize Philippine authorities to find and arrest the suspect.

De Jesus has been advocating for the review and abrogation of the recently signed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and the Visiting Forces Agreement with the US, which she blames for the impunity of American soldiers in inflicting abuses on women and children. She said she feared authorities would look the other way because of provisions that require American troops involved in the joint military exercises who break Philippine laws to face only the US legal system.

De Jesus said, ‘I condemn the heinous barbarity behind the hate crime committed on the defenseless transgender woman involved in the prostitution trade. Gabriela maintains that US military basing in communities abetted by EDCA worsens prostitution, trafficking, drugs, and spread of diseases, and Aquino needs to listen to demands to scrap the agreement.’