MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – Bureau of Immigration (BI) officials admitted that they were ‘high’ on drugs when they ordered the deportation of US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, the primary suspect in the murder of Filipino transgender woman Jennifer Laude in October of last year.
Laude, 26, was found dead in the bathroom of a motel in Olongapo City. An autopsy report said that she died by asphyxiation due to drowning and strangulation.
According to witnesses, Laude was last seen checking in at the motel with Pemberton. The two had met at a nearby bar, where Pemberton was spending the night with fellow servicemen from the USS Peleliu, after participating in US-Philippines joint military exercises in Subic.
The BI order was based on guidelines calling for the deportation of “undesirable aliens.” Criminal offense is sufficient ground to declare an alien “undesirable,” the BI said.
Pemberton is currently being detained at a US facility inside Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
Almost immediately following BI’s announcement of the deportation order, LGBT activists and legal luminaries criticized the agency for preempting the results of the ongoing murder trial. “How can the agency order the expulsion of a foreigner who is facing murder charges? It almost sends the wrong message that if a foreigner commits a crime in the Philippines, he would face deportation and escape punishment,” they said.
‘How about the BI shut up and wait for the trial to proceed before making such a stupid announcement,” a Manila transgender activist said.
Realizing their misjudgment and incompetency, top officials of BI issued an apology. “We should have realized that if Pemberton were convicted, he’d be facing imprisonment in the Philippines. We didn’t mean to imply that we will be deporting a convicted murderer and setting him free by expelling him from the country,” they added.
Meanwhile, LGBT activists are planning to sue BI officials for incompetency and lack of common sense.