Laude fiance: ‘Let me return to PH’

Katerina Francisco

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Laude fiance: ‘Let me return to PH’
The German fiance of slain Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude issues a public appeal to authorities to allow him to return to the Philippines to help him cope with Laude's death

MANILA, Philippines – If the circumstances involving his fiance on October 11, 2014, had not happened, German national Marc Sueselbeck and Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude would have been busy preparing for their wedding next week.

But since that fateful Saturday night in Olongapo City, their lives have taken a different turn: Laude was found dead in a motel bathroom; her alleged killer, US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, now faces a murder trial; and Sueselbeck was placed on the Philippine blacklist.

Sueselbeck, barred from re-entering the country for tresspassing into a military facility to get near Pemberton,  is now appealing to Philippine authorities to allow him to return to the country and visit Laude’s grave on March 13, their supposed wedding date.

Following an open letter he wrote to the Filipino people, Sueselbeck told Rappler that he hopes to get the attention of immigration authorities to reconsider their decision on his case. 

“I am at a point where no option is given to me. I am aware that I might miss that date to attend her grave in person…but I at least need to be able to tell her that I will be there at her side soon,” he said.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines earlier wanted Sueselbeck declared an “undesirable alien” for forcing his way inside a military camp without authorization on October 22, 2014. The German national later apologized for his actions and opted for voluntary deportation.

Four months later, Sueselbeck said he has “learned from [his] mistakes” and is merely asking for “mercy and pardon.”

“I am just really on the edge of my nerves and fear nothing more than to fail. Jen won’t forgive me for failing to be with her.”

No response

Sueselbeck said he tried to directly contact immigration commissioner Siegfred Mison to explain his actions, but was told by his office to consult with a lawyer “for any official word or proceeding.”

“I tried to get information on my status, even through the foreign affairs office in Germany. But even they didn’t receive an answer,” he added.

Sueselbeck also said that he was ready to face jail time in the Philippines for his actions.

“I am not afraid of this. They can arrest me right at airport. I am fine with it,” he added.

The German national said he was willing to go through all of this just to go back and pay his respects to Laude.

Her death, he said, had put such an emotional strain on him that he now describes his life as a “daily struggle to survive.”

“Since that happened, my world fell to pieces around me. Nothing is left that I could go back to. My love and my family and closest friends are there, not here,” he added.

Emotional health

Since returning to Germany, Sueselbeck said he also suffered financial problems and a “loss of personal reputation” for publicly defending Laude “already knowing that not everyone will understand.”

He added that he is currently receiving support from therapists to help him cope with the loss of his fiancee.

Sueselbeck said he had been advised that it was necessary for him to visit Laude’s grave and confront her accused killer “if [he] wanted to keep [his] mental health.”

But while he said he was already “very sure” of the outcome of the murder trial, Sueselbeck stressed that he was not concerned about Pemberton’s fate.

What was important to him was that Laude’s rights were respected, he added.

“If [Pemberton] dies by cancer tomorrow or will live 100 years and have 10 children, I simply don’t care. For me, that trial is about Jennifer’s honor…to make up for the degrading, brutish, beastly death she had to suffer, stripping all humanity from her. At least in that way, her human rights and that of her family have to be respected,” he said.

Sueselbeck, however, drew the line about downgrading the case to homicide. 

“It has to be a murder sentence….Even bringing up the idea of homicide is a cruel joke to the face of anyone involved,” he said. –

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