The Philippine Star on April 4, 2012 released the following:
“By Edu Punay
MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals (CA) has approved the extradition of former priest Fernando Sayasaya to the United States to stand trial for sexual molestation.
The CA affirmed the ruling of the Manila City regional trial court ordering the extradition of Sayasaya, who is wanted in the US for allegedly sexually molesting two minors on several occasions from 1995 to 1998.
In a 23-page decision, the first division of the appellate court dismissed Sayasaya’s petition questioning the extradition order.
The CA, through Associate Justice Amy Lazaro-Javier, stressed the Philippine government has an obligation to ensure that crimes would not go unpunished.
The CA held the RTC was correct in granting the petition filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on behalf of the US government for the transfer of Sayasaya to the US in connection with two counts of gross sexual imposition filed by two brothers before the District Court, East Central Judicial district in Cass country, North Dakota.
The appellate court held there is probable cause in the complaint of the brothers accusing Sayasaya of engaging them in sexual contact on separate occasions at their residence and at church.
The CA junked petitioner’s claim the evidence against him failed to meet the standard of probable cause.
The appellate court agreed with the Manila RTC that the affidavit of detective Grey Clayton Warren of the Police Department of West Fargo, North Dakota, who interviewed the minors, describes in detail the illegal acts committed by the priest.
“This Court gives respect and credence to the foregoing factual findings, which are amply supported by the evidence on record,” the CA said.
Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Jr. and Associate Justice Sesinando Villon concurred in this ruling.
“Suppression of crimes is the concern not only of the state where it is committed but also of any other state to which the criminal may have escaped… 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 said.
The CA also dismissed Sayasaya’s claim that the supporting documents submitted before the trial court, such as the copies of the information, warrant of arrest, affidavits of Warren and the victims, were not properly and legally authenticated by an embassy official in violation of Section 4, Presidential Decree 1069, otherwise known as the Philippine Extradition Law.
It stressed the authentication of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) would already attest to the genuineness of the signature appearing on the attached certification for the purpose of identifying a specific document and giving credence to the official acts of the notary public or the certifying officer for use as evidence in foreign countries.
Sayasaya was placed on administrative leave by the Catholic Church in August 1998 in response to the case and was sent to the Blue Cloud abbey in South Dakota.
In December 1998, Sayasaya asked permission to leave and go back to his homeland in the Philippines for Christmas, saying he would return in January 1999.
Sayasaya has since refused to return to the US to face the charges against him.”
Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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