Thursday, November 23, 2017 6:38 am
The Philippine government is preparing to extradite a defrocked Filipino Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing two boys in the U.S. in the 1990s, a justice department official said on Wednesday.
Fernando Sayasaya, 53, was arrested in the city of Calamba in Laguna province, 48 km south of Manila, on Sunday, almost 20 years since he fled the U.S. and went into hiding in the Philippines.
Chief State Counsel Ricardo Paras said the U.S. Department of Justice has sought Sayasaya’s extradition under a treaty with the Philippines, and the Court of Appeals had granted the request in 2012.
“The apprehension of Fernando Sayasaya once again shows that the long arm of the law would reach all criminals,’’ Paras said.
Sayasaya is accused of sexually molesting two brothers, both under 15 years old, in North Dakota in their home and in church in 1995 and 1998.
He left the U.S. in December 1998, telling his superiors he wanted to spend Christmas in the Philippines.
However, he did not return and even appealed against his extradition while in hiding.
Sayasaya has since been dismissed by the Vatican.
A number of other Filipinos Catholic priests have been accused of sexual abuse in the U.S. and the Philippines, the largest predominantly Catholic country in Asia.
In July, a 55-year-old Catholic priest was arrested in a Manila suburb for allegedly booking a 13-year-old girl for sex through a pimp.
It was allegedly the third time for Monsignor Arnel Lagarejos to solicit services from the girl. (dpa/NAN)