Hanging on to an ‘undesirable alien’ | Inquirer Opinion
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Hanging on to an ‘undesirable alien’

He is a man grieving the death of his late fiancée, so perhaps a little leeway should have been given Marc Sueselbeck in the wake of the fence-climbing incident last week. Footage of the incident shows the German shoving a Filipino soldier who tried to bar his way toward the converted container where US Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton was being held.

Judging from their public statements, all Sueselbeck and Marilou Laude, sister of Jennifer, the German’s late girlfriend, wanted to do was to catch a glimpse of Pemberton and make sure he was indeed inside his “prison cell.” Pemberton has been charged with killing Jennifer, who is a transgender woman, inside an Olongapo City lodging house.

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Sunday evening, Sueselbeck was about to board his flight to Germany after attending Jennifer’s funeral when he was barred from leaving by the Bureau of Immigration. The reason? Sueselbeck was an “undesirable alien” because of his actuations at Camp Aguinaldo.

But if he is so “undesirable,” why is the government seeking to keep him longer in the country? He was about to leave our shores—at his own expense. Now he has been forced to stay here, with the government presumably footing the bill for his lodgings and his fare, assuming he is indeed deported later on. Besides, Sueselbeck has already apologized for his behavior, saying he climbed the fence to “protect” Marilou who was being held back by laughing soldiers.

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I don’t know what the immigration bureau and the Department of Justice want to do with Sueselbeck now. As it is, the German boyfriend finds himself in the same standing as Pemberton, the accused killer, since both of them have been declared “undesirable.” What a messy turn of events this is!

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To be honest, I didn’t know exactly what to make of Sueselbeck, who is, come to think of it, a cuckolded lover whose beloved, it turns out, was either turning tricks with other foreigners or indulging in extracurricular outings.

But it was a gallant gesture nevertheless to have flown all the way to the Philippines and share in the grieving of Jennifer’s family.

Ungallant, though, is the decision of military higher-ups to recognize for “bravery” the soldier shoved by Sueselbeck. Granted, the soldier was obeying orders and preserving the security cordon around Pemberton’s detention quarters. But all he did was to stand in the way of a pudgy, aging foreigner in a barong, although it may have taken a measure of self-control not to retaliate with physical force.

I don’t think Sueselbeck posed any real immediate danger to Pemberton or to any soldier standing in the perimeter. True, he was gate-crashing a military camp. And his actions and demeanor may be interpreted as a show of arrogance and contempt against Filipino soldiers—if not Filipinos in general. But he has apologized and was leaving the country. What good would further litigation do, if not to satisfy the blood-lust of officials such as Justice Secretary Leila de Lima who acknowledged that Sueselbeck may eventually leave the country anyway, but only “under our own terms”?

It seems the military and justice establishments will be happy only if Sueselbeck leaves humbled, chastised and in handcuffs. So much for Filipino hospitality.

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As a fan of TV dramas, I can see the compelling drama in the ongoing dispute between Camarines Norte Gov. Edgardo Tallado and his wife, Josephine.

First reported to be “missing” and even feared “kidnapped,” as the governor told the media, Josephine surfaced last week saying she was fleeing and hiding from her husband who she feared was planning to kill her or have her killed.

Josephine’s escape had more twists and turns than the most riveting crime thriller. She and a friend escaped onboard her vehicle, abandoned that in favor of a motorcycle which they rode in the middle of driving rain, then bought a second-hand vehicle to seek sanctuary in an undisclosed location.

And the reason for the governor’s nefarious scheme? According to Josephine, her husband suspected her of spreading photos and a sex video of him with his much younger mistress.

I’ve seen a few of these photos—with delicate parts discreetly pixilated—and the only thing they reveal is that the governor looks like he’s having a sexual relationship with a woman young enough to be his daughter. Oh yes, also that the young woman apparently relishes having nude photos taken of herself.

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Of course the governor is embarrassed, if not humiliated. But even if Josephine indeed spread the images on cyberspace, is that enough reason to have her killed?

Chilling indeed was the governor’s statement, given when his wife was still “missing,” that he feared for her and her friend’s life. Could he have been laying the ground for Josephine’s eventual demise? Was a contract indeed in place for her permanent disappearance?

At this point, it seems that Josephine is maneuvering for an amicable settlement. Her lawyer Lorna Kapunan said her client wishes now to deal with the matter “away from the public eye” and wants the case to be settled “swiftly.”

Perhaps Josephine has had enough of a taste of life in the underground, fearing for her safety, unsure of where to turn to. Her and the governor’s only son, an adult, is said to be taking his father’s side.

We may never know what led to the breakdown of the Tallados’ marriage and to the governor’s straying. But certainly, making public the photos and videos of the governor’s amorous adventures could not have helped heal wounds nor repair broken relationships. But then, neither would have veiled or silent threats against Josephine’s life settled anything.

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TAGS: Camarines Norte Gov. Edgardo Tallado, crime, Global Nation, Joseph Scott Pemberton, Marc Sueselbeck, murder, news, undesirable alien
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