Call Her Ganda (2018) Script

This is the room of my child, Jeffrey/Jennifer.

These are her things.

After she died, I put her things up.

I wanted to see them.

Jennifer/Jeffrey is my daughter.

All of this, this whole house... Jennifer built everything.

She gave us the money.

Jennifer was her nickname, but for me, it's "Ganda" (Beauty).

Because when she was little, she would always say, "I'm so pretty."

So when she grew up, I called her “Ganda.” She was working at a beauty salon.

At the salon, she would wash, and clean to get free food.

Every week, she would send me all her money.

And she promised, "Mom, when I come home..."

"They will not make fun of me and call me a 'queer.'"

"I will have accomplished something."

"My life has value," she said.

A transgender woman was found dead last night in Olongapo City.

No leads, except for a foreigner, who was seen with the victim.

In our group, she stands out.

She's so intelligent. She's really elegant.

It's like she's the one leading... leading the group.

In our circle of friends, she's the leader.

She's the one we all listen to.

She's the smartest of us all, that's why we listen to her.

Witnesses said, a white man with a marine haircut, met Jeffrey Laude, who was dressed as a woman, at a night club in Olongapo City, on Saturday night.


My name is Meredith. I'm a journalist from America.

Is this being filmed? Off the record first, ma'am.


The body of 26 year old Laude, was found in this hotel in Olongapo City.

American troops there were on a break from military exercises.

Can you tell from your perspective the story of that night?

What happened?

What did you see the night Jennifer was killed?

We all went to Ambyanz Bar.

We started the night with... with three different groups of guys.

All kinds of men.

I ended up with Pemberton's friends.

When did you separate?

During this last job. When they went to the Celzone Lodge and we were at another hotel.

When did you find out what happened?

We were done for the evening.

We were having drinks at a convenience store.

We were trying to contact both Barbie and Jennifer, but no one was answering their phone.

We walked back to Ambyanz, not far from Celzone.

Then Barbie called.

She said something happened, Jennifer fainted or died.


We were traumatized by what happened.

Behind me are five US navy ships.

They've been under lockdown since yesterday, which means they can't leave the Philippines while they investigate the death of a transgender woman who was killed Saturday.

Barbie, how did you meet Pemberton that night?

We met them at Ambyanz Disco Bar.

There were four of them.

We met, talked, and went to the hotel.

Then you didn't see them anymore, right?

No. I left them.

I know the truth.

I saw Jennifer with Pemberton.

The Laude family couldn't stop crying when they arrived at Heritage Park.

The sisters, Marilou and Michelle, the mother and the fiancé, Marc Sueselbeck, became even more emotional, looking at Jennifer's body.

In fact in Olongapo, there's never been a single case where an American solider was punished for committing a crime.

The stack is so high.

The pile of cases in Olongapo that go nowhere is high.

Sixteen year-olds, six year-olds, six month-olds, all were raped, killed.

But not a single American soldier was ever punished.

How could this happen?!

How dare you?!

My poor child!

She couldn't fight back!

Who is the head of security?

Do you even have a head of security?

How do I get in here? I have to deliver something!

We're here to formally serve the subpoena.

The VFA "Visiting Forces Agreement" Commission has already served the notice to the U.S. Embassy.

But Jennifer's family wishes to personally deliver this notice to Pemberton who's on board this ship.

Ma'am, are you ready to face him?


I'm ready.

I also want to hear what he has to say.

Why did he do it?

Will your family be fighting to the end for justice?


I will fight until...

I don't know.

I can't say for how long, but hopefully [till the end].

All of your dreams, he stole them from you.

It's hard to lose a sister, especially because I was used to having her around.

Then to lose her so unexpectedly.

What are you cooking? Dinner.

What are you making?

Jennifer liked to cook all the time.

That's what she liked to do, cooking.

Then singing, she really loved to sing.

Are you leaving now? Go, go.

Okay, take care.

All we want is justice for my sister.

This might happen again and again.

For sure, my son might experience this.

I can see right now that... he is gay.

I do accept him, the same way my mother accepted Jennifer.

I did the same with my son. I accepted him.

I will give him all the support that he needs.

I don't want him to end up like my sister, because it's hard to lose a child.

What was your dream about?

We were in the... in the night market.

When I looked, Auntie Jen was next to us.

Your Auntie Jen? Yeah.

And then? -Then, suddenly...

What was your Auntie Jen wearing? She was wearing red.


I was really happy.

In a resolution issued by the Olongapo city prosecutor's office, they found probable cause to indict U.S. Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton for murder in relation to the death of Jeffrey Laude.

Because of this, Congress insists that the Philippines must acquire custody of the American soldier as soon as possible.

Deputy minority leader Neri Colmenares fears that if the trial is not over in a year, Pemberton is free to return to the U.S.

And it really is very contradictory to the findings of the American Expert.

We are talking about the KamaSutra condom wrapper which was found inside the bathroom.


Ma'am, the hearing is later, right? Yes.

The hearing is at 1:00 pm.

Today, Pemberton's mother will be a witness.

Her name is Lisa Pemberton.

This is important.

The media is going to be a circus, because the defense hasn't allowed her to be interviewed before, right?

There are two things to remember.

That is to get the people's sympathy, to get the media's sympathy.

Of course she'll say her son is a good person, but, you’re also a mother.

You just have to say it. She's in a better position...


Her son is still alive.

If he goes to jail, they'll still be together when he's released.

Ma'am is very excited to finally get answers to all her questions.

This is the second week, that she’s travelled from Leyte, and she is hoping that the accused will present actual evidence.

It's been four days now that the defense has presented no evidence.

It's not easy to come all the way from Leyte, which is also expensive for her.

That’s why she hopes she will see some real evidence, and finally hear the reasons why Pemberton did this.

How could Pemberton do this, and what is their contrary evidence?

Our sovereignty and citizenship are being crushed by this ongoing trial.

They did not open the trial to the public.

Even our friends the media were not granted coverage.

Well, no hearing took place.

The accused presented no evidence due to a technicality.

Here's where we stand.

Under the VFA, this trial has to conclude within a year.

After a year, Pemberton can leave the Philippines.

We are in a tough position, as it’s nearly the end of August.

So there's only four months left, right?

My countrymen, let's listen to Jennifer Laude's mother.

I want to know.

Why are the hearings always postponed?

We don't get answers.

How long do we have to wait?

Nothing will change if this goes on.

Do we not deserve help, just because we are not white, or American?

What about us poor people? It's okay to kill us?

Jennifer won't be the last one killed.

Another "Jennifer" is waiting to happen.

I will not allow this to happen! Please listen to me!

Hey Gorgie.

Call me Auntie.

What's that for?

We will do a countdown for Jennifer Laude to remember her.

So she can live again?

So she can live? No, she won't.

She's already dead? Yes, but even though she is dead...

Do you know what justice is? What is justice?

I don't know.

You don't know.

Well, if there is justice, she won't live again but...

If there is no justice...

If there is no justice... Oh my, we will be in trouble.

Not only will Jennifer be dead, but we'll all be dead.

Now that she's dead, we have no one to support us.

You own a store?

No. -What is it?

Curling, straightening, hair coloring - everything!

Before, Ganda was still around.

Alright. Thanks for your help.

That's okay. We'll keep moving forward.

Number one terrorist!

U.S. imperialist!

Number one terrorist!

Many thanks to all of you. A warm welcome to everyone.

I am Naomi Fontanos and I am proud to say, I am a Filipina.

I am a woman.

I am transgender.

I would like to say to Ganda's family, Jennifer Laude did not die in vain.

Her death exposed the truth about gender-based violence that we experience in our society.

Ganda's death exposed the unfair and useless agreement between our government and the United States.

I would like to tell all of you that the death of Jennifer Laude has brought us all hope.

May this bring change to our society.

I want to thank everyone for their help.

Till today, I still don't have answers to the questions I ask myself.

Why her?

But thanks to many of you here today, I am starting to find hope again.

To all of you who are part of this movement, to Attorney Suarez and Attorney Harry.

Thank you all. Thank you God. We are all fighting.

It's like you two mothers are going to have a dialogue, right?

The mother of the victim and the mother of the defendant.

In our statements... let's clarify who is the victim, and who is the defendant.

There's only one victim here.

As expected, she said, as a mother, she knows Joseph Pemberton to be a good person.

She can't believe the accusations against him.

She did not present any evidence to show Joseph Pemberton did not commit murder.

She can't face the fact that the good boy she raised is capable of killing.

There is no truth to that allegation, and I will repeat, there was never a time that the Laudes ever entertained dropping the case for any amount.

I would like to clarify.

Please don't judge us harshly.

We are in a difficult situation and struggling.

They want people to believe we are a bad family, like we're not after justice, only money.

But we never asked for money.

What have we been shouting for?

Justice for my sister.

This is food for poor people.

Attorney Harry had me picked up by his driver.

I got there around 9:10 am.

When I went in, I saw Pemberton right away.

I could hardly...

The minute I entered, I was shaking.

Why doesn't he just admit it so this can end?

He admitted to it, but insists there's a good reason why.

They're really casting doubt.

They want the judge to have doubt...

I know how they spin things.

They're trying to spin what really happened.

Nay, today is the day you've been waiting for.

How do you feel?

First of all, I thank the Lord above.

I feel strong.

My faith is strong that I will win.

We will win.

Just in case that doesn't happen and the sentence is lowered to homicide, or if he's acquitted...

Are you ready for that? I guess that wouldn't be good if that were the outcome.

If that ever were to happen...

The Americans can do this again and again.

It's as if nothing's changed.

Hey, hey!

Melanesian trans flag! I love it!

Convict Pemberton!

Justice for Laude!

We expect no less than conviction for Pemberton.

That's the only way to get justice for the Laude family.

This first day of December, we await the court’s decision.

That means, it’s been more than a year that our movement has been fighting for the rights of Jennifer Laude, a transgender woman, just like me.

Jennifer’s life and death has brought to light the severity of discrimination against the transgender community, because of their gender.

The accused admits the infliction of the injury and the burden of the evidence consequently shifts to him.

We are one with you in today’s movement, and I thank you for not giving up.

We fight against capitalism.

We also fight against racism and sexism and militarism.

Because the fight for human rights for the transgender community is a fight for justice for all!

I request, Your Honor, that the accused to stand up for the dispositive portion.

With all our courage, we wave the trans flag today to tell you all you cannot kill us, and you cannot erase us.

Wherefore judgement is rendered finding accused Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of homicide, and sentencing him to suffer the indeterminate sentence of six years of prison correctional as minimum and twelve years of prison mayor as maximum.

It bears emphasizing that the confinement or detention must be by Philippine authorities and it shall be carried out in facilities agreed on by appropriate Philippine and United States authorities.

If the confinement or detention of accused Pemberton, should be by Philippine authorities, then he should be confined or detained in the New Bilibid Prison.

He is considered as national prisoner.

The family of Jennifer Jeffrey Laude is dismayed that the case against Joseph Scott Pemberton has been reduced to homicide.

I commend the judge in her ruling that Pemberton should be jailed.

Our efforts did not go to waste. He's going to jail.

My child's life did not go to waste, he's not getting away with it.

What's happening here is a standoff.

The court ordered that Joseph Scott Pemberton be taken to New Bilibid Prison, but this was not permitted by U.S. authorities.

Now there's talk at the highest level, because there are eleven top rank U.S. soldiers, members of the Regional Pacific Command, NCIS, the U.S. Embassy and many more.

They refuse to give up Pemberton, and our policemen are ready to take Pemberton to Bilibid Prison.

This is total chaos.

Pemberton is protected here by the Americans, and our police force is surrounding them.

I guess that a motion is frivolous and dilatory.

They are preventing the Philippine police from taking Pemberton to Bilibid Prison.

In a statement, the Department of Justice said that Pemberton will be taken to Camp Aguinaldo where he'll remain until the end of his appeal and a final decision for the case is reached.

The fact that they are still refusing to surrender Pemberton to our police, that is total disrespect to the entire Filipino nation, and our judiciary and legal system.

How can the DOJ make such an opinion which is really contrary to the decision of the court, right?

Yes, it's sad. Who can you depend on if your own Department of Justice fails to give you justice?


Oh my God. I was losing my mind! Who else is coming?

Naomi said she will be a bit late.

How are you?

I'm okay. I just came from Olongapo yesterday, because...

Story of your life.

No no.

I read the assessment that you wrote.

The defense will be filing their appeal tomorrow at the Court of Appeals.

This is a petition before the Supreme Court... again attacking the Visiting Forces Agreement.

The government will never allow an American soldier to be convicted for murder.

It will be difficult for them.

That's why it will only ever be [homicide].

And so far as the judge is concerned, there is no cruelty.

For her, there is no abuse of superior strength.

In fact, she even questioned it.

How about the payment of damages?

The damages? Nothing yet because they are on appeal.

Everything becomes literally suspended.

Again, we're working against the system here, right?

When you work, do you tell?


Of course I tell them I'm a woman, so that they'll take me.

We're looking forward to normalizing our relationship with U.S. servicemen that are expected to arrive in Olongapo.

He's just sitting pretty. It's like he's not in jail.

There are still ships that dock here, just fewer American ones.

So what about you? How do you feel about the verdict?

For me, there’s a little bit of consolation that justice was served for the death of a friend.

We only want one thing, to see Pemberton in the New Bilibid Prison.

That's it.

They didn't take him to the Armed Forces Center because it doesn't have air conditioning or a personal kitchen.

What the heck is that?

He is a criminal. He should be in jail, and not in a military facility.

What we are fighting for today is for both parties to honor the decision of the court.

Because honoring this decision is respecting the sovereignty of our country.

On November 21st they came here.

A white person, American.

He said..."Georgetown"?

Or whatever. That's what he said.

He said he came from the U.S., and he personally followed up with the case because he felt bad for us, since we're poor.

He said he came from a poor family too, so he could easily relate to our lifestyle.

He immediately offered to help with the case so all our fighting wouldn't be for nothing.

According to him, "Pemberton will be paroled,"

"and set free in July."

That's when I got scared.

This is what the American "Georgetown" gave me.

He said I should sign this so that the damages of 4.6 million pesos

[$90,000 USD] would be given to me right away.

I told him that I don't understand contracts in English.

He said, "Don't show it to Virgie or Harry Roque."

"Why? What's in this?" I asked.

"Nothing really. The final decision is yours," he said.

I met Atty. Harry Roque at his office.

He told me to wait until 3 pm, because we were going to meet Duterte, the President!

"Don't worry."

"We will support your needs for two years."

I was overjoyed because Duterte said, "This is the first time someone stood their ground."

220,000 pesos [$4,300 USD].

This was the help of Duterte.

Not just from anyone. It's really from Duterte.

I live in New Bedford?


She was a she-male?

So he killed her?

I mean, he killed "him"?

How do you feel about Jennifer now that it's been close to two years?

The same, but the situation isn't as nice these days.

When we're picked up, they immediately assume we are trans.

But two months ago, it got a little better.

There were foreigners, right? From the ships?

Now there's a lot of discrimination.

It's crazy.

It's only now that it's hitting me, feeling depressed.

I feel discriminated against, especially in public places.

It hurts.

Mostly in relationships... Why wasn't I born a "real" woman?

But we always tell ourselves, "Just keep going."