#AceWorldNews – MANILA – October 24 – American forces are guarding Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton, yet a ring of Filipino troops surrounds them.
The seemingly redundant security effort around the suspect in a Philippine murder case reflects Manila’s uneasy ties with Washington, its former colonial master. Pemberton, 19, is accused of killing Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old transgender Filipino, in a motel room Oct. 11 in the city of Olongapo.
He was initially held on a U.S. Navy warship at the Subic Bay Freeport, northwest of Manila, but on Wednesday he was transferred to the Philippine military’s main camp, where Filipino troops and two of his fellow Marines continue to guard him.
#AceWorldNews – PHILIPPINES (Manila) – October 22 – A US Marine accused of murdering a transgender woman was moved to the Philippines’ military headquarters Wednesday, AFP said, citing officials.
US helicopter delivered Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton to Camp Aguinaldo in Manila and will be jointly guarded by American and local troops, according to military chief General Gregorio Catapang.
“He will be detained in a 28-cubic-meter van that was installed inside the facility and he will be sleeping in a military-type cot bed with an air conditioning system,”Catapang said.
Police said Pemberton was the last person seen with the victim, Jennifer Laude, a transgender 26-year-old also known as Jeffrey.
#AceWorldNews – PHILIPPINES (Manila) – October 15 – Philippines police on Wednesday filed murder charges against a US Marine over the death of a transgender Filipino, Reuters said.
“Based on two witnesses’ testimonies, we believe we have a strong case against the US Marine,” said Pedrito delos Reyes, police chief of Olongapo City.
The body of Jeffrey Laude, 26, was found in a hotel room on Saturday.
Manila also wants to take custody of Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton while he stands trial, according to a senior Philippines official.
He also warned that the case could damage military ties between the allies.
#AceWorldNews – PHILIPPINES (Manila) – October 14 – Dozens of activists burned a mock U.S. flag as they protested at the U.S. Embassy in Manila on Tuesday, demanding that Washington hand over to the Philippines a Marine implicated in the killing of a transgender Filipino that the demonstrators labelled a hate crime.
Jeffrey Laude, 26, was found dead, apparently strangled and drowned, beside a toilet bowl in a motel room in Olongapo city, north-west of Manila, shortly after he checked in with a Caucasian man late Saturday.
The foreigner, who escaped, was described by witnesses as a U.S. Marine who had met the victim in a bar, police said.
U.S. Marine spokesman Col. Brad Bartelt said a Marine was being held on board the USS Peleliu in the Subic Bay free port, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Manila, in connection with a joint U.S. Navy and Philippine police investigation into Laude’s death.
About 3,000 U.S. Marines and Navy sailors concluded two weeks of military exercises with Filipino counterparts Friday and were to leave the Philippines this week.
But Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said he was assured by U.S. Pacific commander Adm. Samuel Locklear, who was in Manila for security talks with Philippine defence officials, that the Peleliu and other Navy ships would stay in the Philippines pending an investigation into the killing.
#AceNewsServices (SEA) MANILA – September 27 – A threat by Philippine militants to kill a German hostage in a show of solidarity with Islamic State is the latest sign that the Middle East group’s brand of radicalism is winning recruits in Asia and posing a growing security risk in the region.
Over 100 people from South-East Asia’s Muslim majority countries of Indonesia and Malaysia and the southern Philippine region are believed by security officials and analysts to have gone to join Islamic State’s fight in Iraq and Syria.
Malaysian and Indonesian militants have discussed forming a 100-strong Malay-speaking unit within Islamic State in Syria, according to a report from a well-known security group released this week.
Admiral Samuel Locklear, who heads the US Armed Forces’ Pacific Command, said on Thursday around 1,000 recruits from India to the Pacific may have joined Islamic State to fight in Syria or Iraq. He did not specify the countries or give a time-frame.
“That number could get larger as we go forward,” Locklear told reporters at the Pentagon. In addition to India, the Hawaii-based Pacific Command’s area of responsibility covers 36 countries, including Australia, China and other Pacific Ocean states.
The command does not cover Pakistan.
In the region, thousands have sworn oaths of loyalty to Islamic State as local militant groups capitalize on a brand that has been fuelled by violent online videos and calls to jihad through social media, security analysts say. Security officials say this has disturbing implications for the region, especially when battle-hardened fighters return home from the Middle East.
The Philippines’ Abu Sayyaf group, which has earlier claimed links with al Qaeda and is led by a one-armed septuagenarian, has threatened to kill one of the two Germans it holds hostage by Oct. 10, according to messages distributed on Twitter.
As well as US$5.6 million in ransom, the group demanded that Germany halt its support for the US-led bombing campaign launched against Islamic State this week.
#AceNewsServices – TOKYO – May 31 – Two Chinese coastguard ships sailed into disputed waters off Japan-administered islands in the East China Sea Saturday, officials said, as the United States warned Beijing over increasing territorial assertiveness.
The Japanese coastguard said the vessels entered the 12-nautical-mile band of territorial waters around one of the Senkaku islands, which China also claims and calls the Diaoyus, around 10 am (0100 GMT).
Chinese vessels and aircraft have regularly approached the East China Sea archipelago — thought to harbour natural resources — since Tokyo nationalised some of the islands in September 2012, setting off the latest spate of incidents in a long-running territorial dispute.
Saturday’s incursion was the first of official Chinese vessels into the disputed waters since May 2 and the 12th this year.
China is also locked in territorial disputes, in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims almost entirely.
There have been incidences of Vietnam and China ramming each other’s vessels recently while in 2012 the Philippines lost control of rich fishing grounds after a tense stand-off with China.
Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam — claim parts of the sea, with Manila and Hanoi being the most vocal in opposing China’s claims. Taiwan is also a claimant.
At the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore Saturday, US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel accused China of “destabilising actions” in the South China Sea.
Reuters – Japan Today – Straits Times
Ace Related News:
- Japan Today – 31/05/2014 – http://tinyurl.com/ndd79gy
#AceNewsServices – MANILA – Philippines witnesses heavy clashes that have broken out between Philippine troops and Muslim militants trying to regain control of a captured camp in southern Sulu province, leaving 14 Abu Sayyaf rebels and one marine dead, officials said Wednesday.
Military spokesman Lt. Col Ramon Zagala said fighting that began late Tuesday continued until early morning Wednesday, with the militants attempting to regain control of an Abu Sayyaf training and storage camp and in Patikul township that was captured by government troops.
Marine spokesman Capt. Ryan Lacuesta, citing intelligence reports, said the clashes left 14 rebels dead, while one marine was killed and 19 were wounded.
Zagala says troops are securing the rebel camp they captured Monday.
Militants from the group of Abu Sayyaf leader Radullan Sahiron are expected to launch more attacks and the military will continue to use mortars, howitzers and attack helicopters to protect it troops there, he said.
The Abu Sayyaf had links to international militant networks, including Al-Qaeda, but a U.S.-backed Philippine military crackdown has weakened it considerably in recent years.
The group, which is on the U.S. list of terror groups, has about 300 fighters and is now much more focused on ransom kidnappings than global jihad.
AP – Fox News
#AceNewsServices – MANILA – Philippines (AP) – President Barack Obama said a 10-year agreement signed Monday to give the U.S military greater access to Philippine bases will help promote regional security, improve armed forces training and shorten response times to humanitarian crises, including natural disasters.
The deal was signed as Obama arrived in the Philippines, ending a week-long, four-nation Asia tour on something of a high note.
The Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement will give American forces temporary access to selected military camps and allow them to preposition fighter jets and ships and is being seen as an effort by Washington to counter Chinese aggression in the region.
Concerns about the U.S role military role here led to recent clashes outside the U.S. Embassy in the capital of Manila between police and more than 100 left-wing activists who protested Obama’s visit and the new security arrangement.
Activists say the agreement reverses democratic gains achieved when huge U.S. military bases were shut down in the early 1990’s, ending nearly a century of American military presence in the Philippines, a sensitive issue in this former U.S. colony.
These are the key points in the 10-year defence pact between the Philippines and the US.
-Clear provision that the US would “not establish military presence or base in the Philippines
-US access to and use of designated areas in AFP owned and controlled facilities (“Agreed Locations”) will be at the invitation of the Philippine government
-Prior consent of the Philippines, through the MDT and Security Engagement Board, with regard to US access and use of Agreed Locations which may be listed in an annex and further described in implementing arrangements
-Philippine retention of primary responsibility for security of the Agreed Locations
-Access of the AFP base commander to the entire area of the Agreed Locations;
-Philippine ownership of buildings and infrastructure once constructed by US military;
-Sharing and joint use of facilities in the Agreed Locations, including those of used by US military;
-Value of prepositioned material in the enhancement of AFP defence capabilities and possible transfer of purchase of materiel determined to be excess
-Prohibition of entry to the Philippines of nuclear weapons and reference to respective obligations of both Parties under the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention
-Strong commitment by both parties in protecting the environment, human health and safety
-Preference for Philippine suppliers of goods, products and service in US military procurement
-Regular consultation of the implementation of the agreement
The following is the full copy of the FAQ released by the DFA.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) signed April 28, 2014
Ace Related News:
- April 28 – Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) – http://tinyurl.com/n6on7js
2, April 28 – http://tinyurl.com/knk22q5
#AceNewsServices – MANILLA – April 07 – Police in the Philippines have filed a complaint for child trafficking and child abuse against a holidaying Italian diplomat arrested at a resort south of the capital Manila in the company of three boys.
Senior Supterintendent Romulo Sapitula of the Philippine National Police told the Associated Press on Monday that Daniele Bosio was arrested on Saturday at a resort in Laguna province.
The arrest came after members of the child rights group Bahay Tuluyan alerted the police.
The 46-year-old Bosio is the Italian ambassador to Turkmenistan.
Bosio is accused of violating child trafficking and child abuse laws in the Philippines, Lily Flordelis, executive director of Bahay Tuluyan Foundation, told Al Jazeera.
Flordelis and her deputy, Catherine Scerri, saw Bosio at the resort with the three children, and reported him to the police on Saturday evening.
“We were concerned, because it was obvious that he was not related to the children,” Flordelis said. “We only found out later that he is a diplomat.”
The arrest was confirmed by the Italian foreign ministry, according to the Agence France Presse news agency.
According to a 1992 child protection law in the Philippines, any adult who is seen in public with an unrelated child with an age gap of at least 10 years can be reported to police, Flordelis said.
Section 2. Declaration of State Policy and Principles. – It is hereby declared to be the policy of the State to provide special protection to children from all firms of abuse, neglect, cruelty exploitation and discrimination and other conditions, prejudicial their development; provide sanctions for their commission and carry out a program for prevention and deterrence of and crisis intervention in situations of child abuse, exploitation and discrimination. The State shall intervene on behalf of the child when the parent, guardian, teacher or person having care or custody of the child fails or is unable to protect the child against abuse, exploitation and discrimination or when such acts against the child are committed by the said parent, guardian, teacher or person having care and custody of the same. http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra1992/ra_7610_1992.html
Bosio is also accused of violating a separate law on child trafficking. The 2003 law prohibits the “recruitment, transportation, transfer or harbouring, or receipt of persons with, or without the victim’s consent or knowledge, within or across national borders” by means of coercion, fraud and deception.
Section 2. Declaration of Policy. – It is hereby declared that the State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees the respect of individual rights. In pursuit of this policy, the State shall give highest priority to the enactment of measures and development of programs that will promote human dignity, protect the people from any threat of violence and exploitation, eliminate trafficking in persons, and mitigate pressures for involuntary migration and servitude of persons, not only to support trafficked persons but more importantly, to ensure their recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration into the mainstream of society. http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra2003/ra_9208_2003.html
AP – Al Jazeera – Contributions from Child Safety Group’s – ANS2014
#AceWorldNews says the Philippines government summoned China’s top envoy in Manila on Tuesday to protest what it said was the firing of a water cannon by a Chinese government vessel to drive away Filipino fishermen.
The incident took place on January 27 at Scarborough Shoal, a rich fishing ground claimed by China and the Philippines, AP reported.
The shoal came under Chinese control after Philippine vessels backed off from a tense stand-off with Chinese ships in the area in 2012.