Bad taste rules: Morbid photos of a dead Jeffrey Laude released by his family!

So the reason Harry Roque, legal counsel for the family of slain Filipino transgender Jeffrey Laude, released photos of the victim’s body to the public is reportedly “to gain public sympathy for the case.”

“It’s high time the Filipino people understand the family’s and Suselbeck’s sense of anger,” Roque said.

Propagating violence porn: Laude family legal counsel Harry Roque

Propagating violence porn: Laude family legal counsel Harry Roque

In short, Roque confirms that this is a trial by media. The merits of the case of Laude’s killing allegedly by US Marine Pfc Joseph Scott Pemberton are presently being evaluated via due process within the Philippines’ criminal justice system and within the framework of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) which governs the working relationship between the armed forces of the United States and the Philippines. But, true to the form of the practice of “law” in the Philippines, half the battle is being fought through appeals to the sentiments of the greater Filipino public.

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And the media is cooperating by contributing to the circus. Photos of the uncovered body of Laude are indeed being exhibited in mainstream media outlets. One meme shows the photos next to the message, “The VFA did this!”

Most normal people would of course find it baffling that a mother would allow such images of her deceased child to be showcased in this way. Most self-respecting publishers as well wouldn’t go as far as exhibiting such bad taste in journalism. But like everything else in the Philippines, notions of what constitutes being “normal” are, well, not normal.

We can defer to what Get Real Post contributor Kate Natividad wrote on the matter of these sorts of violence porn way back before this circus came to town…

Nonetheless there is still the need to show some respect for the dead. Why do photos of dead people with faces uncovered keep circulating around the Net? Even more disappointing is that some of these photos are published by established mainstream media organizations!

I recall reading about how many journalists around the world exercised a lot more restraint when it came to the video of the beheading of American journalist James Foley. A lot of them desisted from any further posting of the videos and its still images on Twitter, and those who already did pulled them off. Maybe it is time journalists and publishers in the Philippines take their cue from that show of respect exhibited by their peers in other countries.

That Roque, presumably a lawyer by profession, would stoop to such levels makes him quite the sleazebag. Criminal cases are fought on the basis of arguments framed by the law. You’d expect this sort of stunt to be effective in systems that use juries to render verdicts. But, in the Philippines, there are no juries in murder trials. So what did Roque hope to achieve?

It seems Roque is substituting good lawyering with cheap sensationalism in this case. To give him a bit of credit, it just might work. This is the Philippines, see.

But it is not likely that the United States military nor, for that matter, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be amused. This sort of stunt can be construed as a deliberate tainting of a nationally-important on-going criminal investigation. A US Marine stands accused of murdering Laude and, with all that, rests the future of military relations between America and the Philippines which is currently facing an external military threat from a belligerent major world power — the People’s Republic of China — that it is ill-equipped to deal with without US assistance.

Indeed, the trial of Pemberton is a national security issue to say the least. Suffice to say, the AFP are in control of vast resources. And they will likely not apply any reservations in using these to crush the laughable stunts Roque put the Laude family up to. Already, the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Immigration have detained Laude’s fiancé, German national Marc Sueselbeck for his involvement in forcibly breaching the AFP Headquarters perimeter and assaulting a Filipino soldier over the weekend on the basis of complaints filed by the Philippine military.

Interestingly, Roque in a tweet he fielded tonight gave a clear hint of what is in store for him on account of his antics…

I look forward to answering complaint of AFP before the IBP. They will hopefully stop their tirades wc I consider as threat to my security

It seems that the AFP are in the process of lodging a complaint with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines against Roque, presumably for the unlawyerly behaviour he has so far exhibited in the handling of this case.

Abangan ang susunod na kabanata.

34 Replies to “Bad taste rules: Morbid photos of a dead Jeffrey Laude released by his family!”

  1. Wrong benign0, d prosecutor will be prevented by d judge to present these morbid photos to d juries as evidence because these are highly prejudicial to d accused who could be convicted for emotional reasons and not by incontrovertible evidence of guilt.

    1. @Jcc: I know you’re a lawyer and know the PHL judicial system well. So, who or what are you referring to when you say “juries”. As you know Philippine courts functioned without juries, as mandated by the constitution. There is no jury system. Cases are heard and decided by the presiding judge. Please clarify.

    2. But whats done is done right? The pictures were shown unilaterally at a forum different from the court. No judge could have prevented that.

    3. Besides, there are only few ways that would result to non-acceptance of an evidence. Presenting it to the media is not one of them. If JCC is a lawyer, I suggest he read the Rules of Court again.

  2. I am really sad. I haqve been aware for years that although Philippines and Filipinos are lovely, they are a long way behind the more developed nations in many things, like manners lack of pride when it comes to asking for money, etc, but this really strikes a blow against the Christian ethics of some of the legal fraternity. It is tragic that she died….for her and for him, but now they are both being turned into toys by people who want to use them for their own causes She is dead! PLEASE act like Christians and give her some dignity, while remembering that she was being a little naughty at the time. Don’t make a mockery of her, him, the legal system and yourselves.

  3. Imagine that a lawyer who is not confident in the Philippine justice system and resorts to sensationalism in the media to influence his client’s case.

    I argue that precisely because the Philippines has no jury system, sordid dog and pony stunts like what roque here pulled will have a more detrimental effect.

    As opposed to jury system where you have to convince at least ten out of twelve jury persons in a criminal case anyway to get a guilty verdict in the Philippines you have but one judge to influence. Such media pressure could lead a judge to decide for laude.

    Roque should know better and should be punished.

    It never ceases to amaze how some in the Philippines continue to mangle and put their own spin on how democratic institutions like the judiciary and the media should work.

  4. For a lawyer-vulture like Roque, it’s not about justice but about fame. The more outrageous and sensational, the more he thinks he will benefit from handling the hot case. What a depressing sight it is to see a lawyer more concerned with his name and career rather than justice.

  5. Roque is nothing but a fat troll. He is a shameful legal counsel. He encouraged this German guy and relative of Laude to climb the fence of JUSMAG, as lawyer he should know better.

  6. Roque is trying to politicalize a criminal case…maybe he cannot grasp any good argument in the coming trial ; to win his case…

    Do your homework, Mr. Roque…

  7. well, recently the few girls murdered along Mabalacat and left with labels saying “Asset” were not even talked about

    I ask, what’s so special about Jeffrey the whole nation has to stop what they are doing and express sympathy and rage ?

    Because a Tranny is more valuable than a normal woman or women killed ?

    1. I agree 100% with Michael. It’s suppose to be about the loss of human life and not who the human was. The humans place in society, nationality and other nonsensical things should be kept out of the issue.

  8. Harry Roque’s blog post on the matter seems to suggest he’s just covering his a$$. He says:

    “The picture, though, had to be published. Why?

    “Primarily because judging from the pronouncements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and its supporters, the public obviously does not know just how gruesome her murder was. Yes, it has been reported that she was drowned in a toilet bowl. But the public does not know that prior to drowning, she was also strangled and beaten. The problem was while the public saw how Marc Sueselbeck pushed the Filipino soldier in his desire to see the man who killed his loved one, the people have only seen the picture of Jennifer when she was alive and pretty. They probably assumed that the emotions of both Marc and Marylou, Jennifer’s sister, when they climbed the fence of Aguinaldo to see Pemberton- were simple theatrics. The AFP even says I instigated it.”

  9. Yadda yadda yadda. Still waiting for GRP’s article on (and disagreeing with) Noynoy’s “Laude’s not a friend nor an acquiantance — why the hell should I visit his wake?” statement.

    Have I any right to expect a Catch-22 from you, benign0? Or you, Ilda? Maybe you, Gogs? For an article that bashes both Noynoy for that speech and Laude for maybe being a prostitute would certainly make for interesting reading.

    1. KSP caused Laude’s family to lash out at Noynoy.

      KSP caused Harry Roque to use those methods.

      KSP caused an “engaged” Laude to impersonate a woman to 19 year old Marine and agree to tryst of some sort.

      KSP made Sueselbeck climb that fence despite the fact there were armed guards.

      There is my article. You can also read my most recent one in bookstores now and nationwide in theaters.

    2. Personally, I believe PNoy is right. He does not owe Laude’s family a visit nor a statement on the matter as the case is now working its way through the system. What value would both of those add?

      1. (I’ll lay aside the contention that Noynoy could’ve phrased his statement a little more delicately, as it has little relevance here at the moment.)

        The latter has dubious value, that I can agree with — the case certainly doesn’t need the saturation media coverage it has recently gotten, patriotic and other pecuniary biases aside.

        The former? As a visual statement of solidarity with the Laudes, to reassure the LGBTs here that their rights as citizens are and will be respected even if it is proven that Laude was a prostitute — not only would it send the right message in an effective (not to mention televised) manner, I find it hard to believe that it can be supplanted by malicious tripe (political or otherwise) from those with axes to grind.

  10. To suppose that the trial will be anything but a farce is comical.What is going to happen in that case has already been decided.No grandstanding or publicity stunts are going to carry the day on this case.

    The publication of these pictures lowers the opinion of all people’s around the world that may have NOT had an already shabby opinion of Filipino’s.FAIL, FAIL, FAIL is all the country can do it seems.

  11. I call it typical Filipino, grandstanding,bullshit! How this so-called lawyer was allowed to post evidence in an on-going investigation without penalty is beyond me… But, not beyond logic in the Philippines.

        1. Because it doesn’t involve American military personnel on an R&R escapade in the Philippines, courtesy of the much-debated much-maligned Marcos-era Visiting Forces Agreement.

          (If, buts, all the caveats.)


    People all over starting to lode any credibility you my have once had, ans you are now looking rather useless ans dumb !

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