For Immediate Release
December 8, 2015
Reference: Valerie Francisco, GABRIELA USA Chairperson, email@example.com
GABRIELA USA Denounces Court Verdict and Demands US to Turn Over Pemberton
Across the nation, GABRIELA USA and BAYAN USA are holding National Days of Action between December 4 thru December 16 to express outrage regarding the recent Philippine court verdict of US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton for the brutal murder of Jennifer Laude. On December 1st, a Philippine court ruled Pemberton guilty of homicide, which is considered a lesser offense than murder, and is sentenced to serve 6-12 years. Pemberton remains in US custody despite the demand that he be turned over to Philippine authorities immediately. Refusing to hand over Pemberton is a violation of Philippine sovereignty made possible through the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) signed by the United States and Philippine governments. “Filipino Americans should be outraged by the United States’ sheer arrogance in its refusal to turn Pemberton into Philippine custody. Our tax dollars go towards maintaining the VFA and EDCA, unequal military agreements that are laced with transmisogyny and disrespect for Philippine sovereignty, all for the US’ dominance in the Asia Pacific region,” states Jacklyn Mariano of New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines.
GABRIELA USA will continue to expose the violence and injustice committed against Filipino women and children due to unequal relations between the US and the Philippines. Until these agreements are terminated, human rights violations due to US military occupation will repeatedly happen. “I’ve seen firsthand in areas like Olongopo and Angeles City how U.S. militarization has impacted our country, committing crimes against women and children, and leaving behind toxic waste in our communities. Treaties like VFA are a form of U.S. imperialism, allowing human rights violations to continue with impunity,” stated Susan Pineda, GABRIELA DC Vice Chairperson for Rights & Welfare.
As a part of GABRIELA USA’s 4 Weeks of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we launched the national days of actions in response to the guilty verdict of Pemberton on December 4th, which marked the 9 years since the guilty verdict of Lance Corporal Daniel Smith for the rape of Filipina woman “Nicole”. Smith also experienced special treatment and the charges were eventually dropped. Taking action in front of Philippine embassies and consulates and holding community forums, continuing through International Human Rights Day on December 10, and concluding on December 16, we make our call loud and clear to say “No to another Daniel Smith! No special treatment for Pemberton! US President Obama, turn over Pemberton NOW!”
End US Occupation over our land and bodies!
Justice for Jennifer Laude and all trans women! End Transmisogyny Now!
US Troops Out of the Philippines! Junk the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and Scrap the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA)!
GABRIELA USA is a grassroots-based alliance of progressive Filipino women’s organizations in the United States seeking to wage a struggle for the liberation of all oppressed Filipino women and the rest of our people.