Marc Sueselbeck's open letter to the Filipino people
Editor's Note: On November 1, 2014, German Marc Sueselbeck, the fiancé of transgender Filipino Jennifer Laude, left the country at around 4 pm via China Airlines Flight CI-704. He was originally scheduled to return to Germany on October 27, but he was barred from leaving the country after the Armed Forces wanted him declared an "undesirable alien." He tried to scale a fence to get near the detention facility of US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, who was accused of killing Laude.
He later opted for voluntary deportation, which was granted by the Bureau of Immigration. He remains on the Philippine blacklist. He sent the letter below in the hope of being allowed to return by March 13, the date he was scheduled to wed Laude. He wants to be allowed to visit Laude's grave on that special day.
To the citizens of the Philippines,
I fell in love with a Filipina woman named Jennifer Laude more than two years ago. Because of my heartbreak over her murder, I made a bad decision and scaled a fence only to ensure that her killer is still on Philippine soil. Because of this, the Philippine government has banned me from returning for the trial of her murderer and for a date that is so important for me, March 13, which would have been our wedding day.
I wrote a letter to a number of authorities in the Philippines pleading for them to allow me to return to your country. But I also wanted to write you to ask for help from anyone who can help me to speak to the government to give me leniency, I would be eternally grateful to you. (READ: Sueselbeck leaves Manila)
Maybe you know how much of a weight on my heart it is to feel the death of the person I love most in the world. But this weight is so much more difficult to bear now that I am unable to return to the Philippines just to be with our family and friends to find justice for Jennifer. I am unable to simply visit her grave, and what hurts the most, I can’t even be near her in any way on the day we were supposed to be married.
I remember what Pope Francis said when he visited the Philippines, that we need to have both mercy and compassion. That is all I ask of you, that you take pity on me and allow me to be with my beloved and her friends and family.
Finally, I would like to express my deepest apologies to anyone who felt that I was disrespectful to your laws and your country. This has never been my intention. It was only because I truly went out of my mind for a moment because of Jennifer’s death. Never have I wanted to disrespect the Philippines and Filipinos.
Thank you for reading this letter and for giving me so many things to be happy for in the two years that I have known the Philippines. It is my last wish that maybe you, the people of the country that I love, can help me be with one of your own, my most beloved.
This is his letter in Filipino:
Sa mga mamamayang Filipino,
Mahigit dalawang taon na po akong napamahal sa isang Pilipinang nangngangalang Jennifer Laude. Dahil sa aking kalungkutan sa kanyang pagkakapatay, gumawa po ako ng maling desisyon at umakyat po ako ng isang bakod para lamang masigurado na ang pumatay sa kanya na si Pemberton ay nasa Pilipinas pa. Dahil dito, ayaw po akong pabalikin sa bansa ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas sa isang petsang napakahalaga po sa akin, Marso 13 – ang araw ng nakatakdang pagkakasal namin ni Jennifer.
Sumulat po ako ng mga liham sa mga awtoridad ng Pilipinas upang humiling na payagan akong bumalik sa inyong bansa. Pero nais ko rin pong sumulat sa inyo at makisuyo na kung meron po sa inyong puwedeng makatulong sa akin sa pamamagitan ng pakikipagkausap sa gobyerno para po bigyan ako ng awa. Tatanawin ko po itong isang napakalaking utang na loob.
Siguro po alam niyo kung gaano kabigat sa puso ang pagkamatay ng isang taong pinakamamahal mo sa mundo. Nguni't ang kabigatan po nito ay talaga pong napakahirap buhatin ngayong hindi po ako makabalik para lamang makasama ang aming pamilya at kaibigan para sa paghahanap ng hustisya para kay Jennifer. Hindi ko po madadalaw ang kanyang libingan, at ang pinakamasakit dito ay hindi ko po siya makakapiling sa araw ng dapat naming kasal.
Natandaan ko po ang sabi ni Pope Francis noong bumisita siya sa Pilipinas, na kailangan po tayong magkaroon ng awa at pakikiramay. Yun lang po ang hiling ko sa inyo, na kaawaan niyo naman po ako at payagang makapiling ko ang aking pinakamamahal at ang kanyang pamilya at kaibigan.
Sa katapusan po, gusto ko pong humingi ng tawad sa lahat sa inyong naramdaman na hindi ko nirerespeto ang inyong bansa at batas. Patawad po sa inyo. Hindi po iyon ang intensyon ko. Talaga lamang pong nawala ako sa aking isip nang isang saglit dahil sa pagkamatay ni Jennifer. Kahit kailan po, hindi ko po ninais na huwag galangin ang mga Pilipino at ang Pilipinas.
Salamat po sa inyong pagbasa sa aking sulat at sa pagbibigay niyo ng napakaraming kasayahan sa dalawang taon kong pagkakakilala sa Pilipinas. Huli ko na po itong hiling, at sana naman makatulong po kayo, mga mamamayan ng bansang mahal ko, para makapiling ko ang kababayan ninyong pinakamamahal ko.
READ: Marc Sueselbeck's petition
In these changing times, courage and clarity become even more important.
Take discussions to the next level with Rappler PLUS — your platform for deeper insights, closer collaboration, and meaningful action.
Sign up today and access exclusive content, events, and workshops curated especially for those who crave clarity and collaboration in an intelligent, action-oriented community.
As an added bonus, we’re also giving a free 1-year Booky Prime membership for the next 200 subscribers.
You can also support Rappler without a PLUS membership. Help us stay free and independent by making a donation: https://www.rappler.com/crowdfunding. Every contribution counts.