The Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC) is expected to resolve on Monday, Aug. 23, or a few days thereafter, whether there is legal ground to proceed with the criminal charges filed against a former United States diplomat for “sexually abusing” a 16-year-old Filipina.
The case against Dean Edward Cheves, a foreign service officer formerly assigned at the US Embassy in Manila, was raffled to the sala of RTC Judge Christian P. Castaneda.
The Pasay City Prosecutor’s Office charged Cheves with violations of Section 5(b) of Republic Act No. 7610, the Special Protection of Children against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, and Section 4(b) of RA 9775, the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009.
Under the rules, the judge has to determine probable cause. If probable cause exists, the judge will then issue an arrest order.
Probable cause is “a reasonable ground or presumption that a matter is or may be, well founded.” A finding of probable cause “does not require an inquiry into whether there is sufficient evidence to procure a conviction; it is enough that the act or omission complained of constitutes the offense charged.”
Cheves has left the Philippines and is currently in the US where a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia indicted him for engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place and possession of pornography on Aug. 3.
Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra had ordered the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of the State Counsel to study the possible extradition of Cheves once an arrest order is issued by the trial court.
Per reports, Cheves was caught at his embassy residence in the Philippines with mobile phone videos he took himself engaging in sexual acts with a 16-year-old Filipina he met online using a dating mobile application.
The prosecutor’s resolution stated that the Filipina minor met Cheves through the online dating app “Bumble” and they met personally last Feb. 12 in Dasmarinas Village in Makati City where the victim was asked to do oral sex.
In her affidavit, she said that they met again last Feb. 22 and went to motel in Pasay City where Cheves took videos of their sexual activity.