Miriam wants 'Barbie' in Senate probe on Laude death
MANILA, Philippines – Senate committee on foreign relatinos chairman Senator Miriam Santiago wrote Justice Secretary Leila De Lima for an "urgent request" to allow witness Mark Clarence "Barbie" Gelviro to attend the Senate probe into the slay of transgender woman Jennifer Laude.
The Senate hearing is scheduled on Wednesday, October 22, a day after the Olongapo City court holds a preliminary hearing on the murder case on Tuesday, October 21.
Santiago also requested the appearance of Celzone Lodge employee Elias Galamos in the Senate probe.
"Their testimonies will be absolutely essential for the Senate to carry out the mandate to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation," Santiago said in her letter.
Barbie was with Laude when she checked in at Celzone Lodge, where she was later found dead. Laude supposedly asked Barbie to leave "before the suspect knew that they are gays."
Barbie would later identify US Marines Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, who would become the primary suspect for Laude's murder.
The involvement of a US servicement has revived issues against Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the treaty allowing temporary presence of American troops in the Philippines, and puts on the line the new Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
Visible injuries on Laude's neck suggested that she might have been strangled. Autopsy report showed she died of drowning.
Pemberton was among thousands of US Navy sailors and Marines for the the Philippines-US Amphibious Landing Exercises (PHIBLEX).
He was in Olongapo City for a furlough before their ships depart the Philippines. – Rappler.com