PHL Justice dep’t info-gathering for extradition of former US diplomat accused of child abuse

JUSTICE SECRETARY MENARDO I. GUEVARRA — PCOO.GOV.PH

THE Philippine Justice department is gathering more information on the case of a former American diplomat who was accused of child sex abuse before it coordinates with the United States government on his extradition.

“We’re still gathering a lot of information, then we’ll evaluate and make our move,” Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra told reporters on Tuesday through a Viber group message.

The accused diplomat was a member of the Foreign Service at the US embassy in Manila from Sept. 2020 to Feb. 2021.

The diplomat has been prosecuted at a court in the Eastern District of Virginia for engaging in illegal sexual conduct with a 16-year-old in the Philippines and for possession of child pornography as obscene videos and photos of the minor were found on his devices.

Mr. Guevarra, in a statement on Monday, said his department is still coordinating with the Department of Foreign Affairs to clarify legal issues such as possible diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and territorial jurisdiction.

“Assuming that these issues have been clarified, we shall proceed to coordinate with the US department of justice under the umbrella of the (Republic of the Philippines)-US mutual legal assistance treaty,” Mr. Guevarra explained.

The accused diplomat may be charged with criminal and civil liabilities under the Philippines’ Anti-Child Abuse Act, Anti-Child Pornography Act, Anti-Human Trafficking Law, and the Revised Penal Code.

He may also be extradited to the Philippines, “subject to the provisions of our extradition treaty with the US.” — Bianca Angelica D. Anago

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