By Alexis Romero
Publish in Philstar.com
MANILA, Philippines - The military on Monday awarded a plaque of recognition to the soldier shoved by Marc Suselbeck, the German partner of slain transgender Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude.
Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang Jr. led the awarding ceremony in honor of T/Sgt. Mariano Pamittan, one of the guards who prevented Suselbeck from entering the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB) facility.
US Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton, the suspect in the killing of Laude, is detained in the restricted facility.
Pamittan was awarded for “highly commendable performance of duty” and for displaying “professionalism and exemplary composure under pressure.”
Catapang was so proud of Pamittan’s restraint that he even led the crowd in cheering three “hep hep hoorays” after he handed him the plaque.
Speaking to reporters after the awarding ceremony, Pamittan said he did not mind Suselbeck shoving him because he was trained not to hurt civilians.
“It’s okay because as a soldier, I just performed my duty,” he said in Filipino.
Laude’s mother Julita, his sisters Marilou and Michelle, Suselbeck, and their lawyers Harry Roque and Virgie Suarez tried to enter the MDB-SEB compound last Oct. 22 to see Pemberton but were denied entry by the military police.
Marilou and Suselbeck climbed over the fence, resulting in a confrontation between the Laude camp and soldiers. Suselbeck even pushed one of the guards who tried to block him, prompting the military to seek his deportation.
Suselbeck has apologized for his actions but the military is bent on having him declared as an “undesirable alien.”
Such declaration will effectively bar Laude’s fiancé from returning to the country.