Human rights lawyer Harry Roque earned flak from netizens Tuesday after he posted on his blog gruesome photos of Jennifer Laude (born Jeffrey Laude), the Filipina transgender who was murdered inside a motel in Ologapo City early this month.
Roque said his aim is to rebuff the request of the camp of US Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton, the prime suspect in the murder, to downgrade the case against him from murder to homicide.
There are two photos, the first one shows Laude’s head apparently slammed against a toilet bowl. The second one is a close-up photo of Laude’s swollen face, with blood leaking from his nose. Roque posted the photos in a blog entry titled “Is this homicide?”
“The family decided to go public with this picture in order for the nation to understand not just the grief that they have been feeling but the sense of anger over the injustice that, not only having failed to exercise jurisdiction over the person suspected of murder, the table has been turned against the family and the fiance,” Roque said, as quoted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The reaction of netizens to Roque’s handling of the case in general and his decision to publicize Laude’s death photos has been very negative. Some Twitter users derided Roque as a “fame whore,” an “attention seeker,” and a master in the “media circus.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Philippine military blamed the lawyer for Marc Sueselbeck’s decision to climb the security fence of an Armed Forces of the Philippines facility with the aim of chasing Pemberton. Sueselbeck is Laude’s German fiance.
The German is now having a dispute with Philippine immigration officials.