A Philippine court plans to deliver its verdict in the emotion-charged case of a U.S. Marine accused of murdering a transgender Filipino after discovering her gender when they checked into a hotel.

Officials plan heavy security for the ruling in the case involving U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton. Left-wing activists plan protests in Olongapo City, northwest of Manila, where Pemberton is accused of strangling to death Jennifer Laude after they met in a bar in October last year.

The killing sparked anger in the Philippines and reignited calls for an end to America's military presence at a time when the U.S. is reasserting its dominance in Asia, and Manila has turned to Washington for support amid a territorial dispute with China.