References: Atty. Harry L. Roque Jr. (firstname.lastname@example.org) and
Atty. Romel R. Bagares 09328798422
Lawyers for the family of the transgender murder victim Jennifer Laude blasted today Angeles City Chief Prosecutor Emilie Fe M. De Los Santos for blocking in open court their efforts to introduce evidence in the prosecution of an American marine tagged for the killing.
“We cannot understand why she should do that,” said lawyer Romel Regalado Bagares, one of the lawyers representing the Laude family. “As the public prosecutor, she should cooperate with the private prosecutors in ensuring that justice is served in this case.”
At the continuation of the pre-trial of the case, the lawyer, with co-counsel lawyer Virgie Suarez and Charlaine Latorre, asked the Court to include in the list of prosecution witnesses the commanding officer of the unit the Accused, Lance Corporal John Scott Pemberton, belonged to at the time of the Oct. 11, 2014 murder.
He also wanted to add to the list of prosecution witnesses the American officer who has custody of Lance Corporal’s service records and the officer in charge of training at the Marine boot camp that Pemberton attended.
De Los Santos however, opposed this. “We wanted to have all corners covered,” said Atty. Suarez. “We did not expect that to come from her, since we are supposed to be on the same side.”
Lawyer Harry Roque, the Laude family’s lead counsel, was not in court today because of a prior commitment to attend a conference on the West Philippine Sea dispute at the Harvard Law School, where he was invited, along with Supreme Court Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza, to speak at a panel.
However, during the arraignment of the Accused on February 23, in the presence of the lawyer, the Angeles City Public Prosecutor tried to prevent him from speaking in court. But the presiding judge, Roline Jabalde, recognized his bona fides in open court as a private prosecutor.
When reached for comment on the latest antics of the public prosecutor, Roque revealed that the private prosecutors have tried several times to reach an agreement with her on how they can work together on the case. “She has refused to talk to us in the most unprofessional way imaginable. She is making it easier for the Defense by doing the latter’s work.”
De Los Santos has publicly declared that she will not allow private prosecutors any lee way in the presentation of the evidence for the criminal aspect of the case. Today however was the first time that she actually prevented the private prosecutors from introducing evidence in court.
“We are constrained to bring this matter to the public’s attention because the public prosecutor herself is blocking cooperative efforts between us to obtain justice for the victim,” said Roque.