The Department of Justice (DOJ) is coordinating with its United States counterpart on the case of Dean Cheves, a 61-year-old former foreign service officer charged last week in a US court for alleged sexual activities with a minor and possession of child pornographic materials while in the Philippines.
In a message to newsmen on Monday, DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra said clarifications are being made on diplomatic immunity, indictment, and extradition agreements with the US.
“The DOJ is also coordinating with the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) on relevant legal issues such as diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention 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 RP-US mutual legal assistance treaty,” Guevarra said.
Depending on the evidence made available, Guevarra said Cheves may be held criminally and civilly liable under the country’s anti-child abuse act, anti-child pornography act, anti-human trafficking law, and the revised Penal Code.
“Mr. Cheves may be extradited to the Philippines once he is charged under any or all of the aforementioned laws, subject to the provisions of our extradition treaty with the US,” Guevarra said.
Last week, a federal grand jury at the Eastern District of Virginia indicted Cheves for sexual relations with a 16-year-old girl whom he met online.
He had served at the US Embassy in Manila between September 2020 and February 2021.
“Court documents further detailed that Cheves allegedly engaged in sexual activity with the minor on two occasions, knowing the minor’s age, and produced cell phone videos of himself engaging in the sex acts each time,” the US DOJ said in an Aug. 3 statement.
The videos were reportedly found on Cheves’ devices seized from his embassy-provided residence while in the Philippines.
Cheves was charged with one count of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place and one count of possessing child pornography in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the US or on lands owned or leased by the US.
Cheves made his initial court appearance on July 6, 2021 before US judge Ivan Davis.