Pinoy Priest to Be Extradited to US for Child Sex Abuse
By Ina Reformina
April 3, 2012
MANILA, Philippines - A Filipino priest will face trial for child sex abuse in the United States after the Court of Appeals (CA) First Division upheld a lower court's order for the priest's extradition.
CA Associate Justice Amy Lazaro-Javier, in a 22-page ruling, said Fernando Laude Sayasaya should be extradited because the evidence against himon the alleged sexual offenses "met the standard of probable cause."
Sayasaya allegedly committed "gross sexual imposition" on two 15-year-old boys on several occasions between July 1995 to August 1998, while he was assigned as a priest at the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in West Fargo, North Dakota.
He has been charged in the District Court East Central Judicial District in Cass County, North Dakota.
"It is... in the interest of civilized communities that crimes should not go unpunished. On this score, we cannot allow our country to be a haven for fugitives, cowards, and weaklings, who, instead of facing the consequences of their actions, choose to run and hide," the CA decision said.
The Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 42, in a December 28, 2010 ruling, approved the US government's request for the priest's extradition.
The lower court dismissed the claim of Sayasaya's lawyer that the documents supporting the request were not authenticated by a Philippine embassy official and failed to meet the standard for probable cause under Philippine extradition law and the extradition treaty between the Philippines and the US.
The signature and official seal of US Attorney General David Warner "were sufficient to authenticate all documents offered in support of the request for extradition," the RTC ruling said.
The CA said the lower court is correct in its decision. "Appellant's (Sayasaya) claim that the supporting documents were not properly authenticated... cannot sustain the petition for extradition, is devoid of merit."