DOJ’s chief state counsel tasked to study extradition of ex-US diplomat Cheves

Department of Justice

The Office of the Chief State Counsel of the Department of Justice (DOJ-OCSC) has been tasked to look into the possibility of extraditing a former United States foreign service officer who has been indicted in his own country for sexually abusing a 16-year-old Filipina and possessing child pornographic materials while stationed in the Philippines.

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said his instruction was issued to DOJ’s Chief State Counsel George O. Ortha II in connection with the case of Dean Cheves, then head of the foreign service office of the US embassy in Manila from Sept. 2020 to Feb. 2021.

Cheves has already been indicted by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia last Aug. 3 for engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place and possession of pornographic materials.

Last Monday, Aug. 9, Guevarra said the Philippine government is considering the extradition of Cheves once criminal cases are filed against him in local court.

But Guevarra said the government has not communicated with the US on the possibility of Cheves’ extradition.

He said the DOJ is coordinating with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) concerning the case on “relevant legal issues such as diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention and territorial jurisdiction.”

Once these issues have been clarified, Guevarra said the Philippine government will “proceed to coordinate with the US Department of justice under the umbrella of the RP-US Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT).”

“Depending on the evidence made available, the subject US personnel may be held criminally and civilly liable under our Anti-Child Abuse Act, Anti-Child Pornography Act, Anti-Human Trafficking Law, and the Revised Penal Code,” he said.

“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,” he added.

“We’re still gathering a lot of information. Then we’ll evaluate and make our move,” he also said.

Published reports stated the Cheves was caught at his embassy residence in the Philippines with cellular phone videos he took himself while having sex act with a 16-year-old girl Filipina he met online.

The same reports stated that Cheves, who left the Philippines last May, has a molestation case in the US.