THE Court of Appeals (CA) has slammed the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila for delaying the extradition of an American national facing a felony charge in California.
In a ruling penned by Associate Justice Manuel Barrios and concurred in by Associate Justices Ramon Bato Jr. and Maria Elisa Sempio Diy, the CA’s 12th Division reversed and set aside the decision of Manila RTC Branch 1, as it quashed a subpoena duces tecum ad testificandum in connection with the case of US national Eric Uy Chan.
On January 10, 2006, the United States government, represented by the Philippine Department of Justice (DOJ), filed before the RTC a petition seeking to extradite Chan to the US in accordance with the extradition treaty between Manila and Washington.
The US wants to get back Chan so he can stand trial in a felony complaint as well as face sentence in a separate case, both pending before the Superior Court of the State of California in Los Angeles.
In the course of the proceedings before the RTC, Chan moved for the issuance of a subpoena on Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Eduardo Jose de Vega and then Justice Chief State Counsel Ricardo Paras 3rd, which was granted by Presiding Judge Tita Bughao Alisuag.
When the RTC junked the DOJ’s plea, the case was brought to the appellate court.
In its June 29, 2016 ruling released just recently, the CA ruled that the issuance of the subpoena duces tecum ad testificandum was premature, adding that “any attempt to assail the validity and effectivity of the treaty is improper and constitutes grave abuse of discretion.”
In ruling in favor of the US and the Philippine DOJ, the appeals court pointed out that “the extradition proceeding is meant to be summary because its purpose is only to aid the requesting state in bringing the accused back to its territory so that the proper criminal process maybe accomplished therein.”
“In this instance, the extradition proceeding was initiated in January 2006—and after ten (10) long frustrating years—the petition remains pending before the public respondent court,” the CA said.