Offbeat: Philippine police accuse US Marine in murder case

(WORLD SECTION) PHILIPPINES-MANILA-PROTEST RALLYPhilippine police filed a murder complaint Wednesday against a U.S. Marine accused of killing a transgender Filipino, in an emotional case expected to test the country’s military ties with the United States.
Police Chief Inspector Gil Domingo said Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton was the last person seen with the victim late Saturday, when they checked into a motel after meeting in a bar in Olongapo city northwest of Manila.
Jennifer Laude, whose former name was Jeffrey, was found with her head resting on the motel room’s toilet bowl, apparently after being drowned. Police suspect Pemberton may have been angered when he discovered in the motel room that Laude was a transgender individual or because of an argument sparked by other reasons. Laude had not undergone gender reassignment surgery, Domingo said.
Dozens of activists burned a mock U.S. flag in a protest at the U.S. Embassy on Tuesday and tearfully demanded that Washington hand over Pemberton to Philippine authorities. They called for abolishment of the Visiting Forces Agreement, which allows U.S. forces to join large-scale combat exercises with Filipino troops and permits the U.S. to take custody of its soldiers who run afoul of Philippine laws.

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