Marianas Variety

Last updateTue, 10 Dec 2019 12am







    Monday, December 9, 2019-3:03:56P.M.






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Fitial must go

I HAVE a difficult time understanding why the FBI and the Office of the U.S. Attorney for Guam and the CNMI are not doing their job in the commonwealth.   For several years now, they have been concentrating on small time drug peddlers and violators of endangered species acts rather than focusing on more important corruption cases that continue to compromise the safety of our community.

Over the past several months, I have grown increasingly disappointed with the lackluster performance of the FBI in their investigations and handling of the two lost sisters and the murder of the Godfather’s Bar waitress. I suppose if murder, rape, and apparent kidnapping can’t garner the Fed’s attention and motivate their action towards a lawful resolution, then the FBI’s and federal government’s current inaction regarding the most shameful and illegal activities of our governor and his high ranking cronies follows in the same vein of ineffectiveness.

The recent well-publicized illegal actions of Benigno Fitial, Ed Buckingham, and Ambrosio Ogumoro have all exceeded the threshold for the federal authorities to have jurisdiction over these matters.   The use of cell phones in the commission of a crime (obstruction of justice), threat of bodily harm, vandalism, and other civil rights violations by law enforcement personnel, political retaliations within DPS on officers assisting in the impeachment hearings, the use of federally funded resources (vehicles, fuel, radios, cell phones, etc.) during commission of a crime (e.g. helping a federal detainee escaped from our prison to massage the governor at 3 am), and other associated violations should trigger grand jury proceedings to determine if federal crimes have been committed and to identify who has committed these crimes.   Are the Feds doing anything about these blatant affronts to the law? If they are currently working on something, I would like to say thank you. If they are not, then what the heck are they waiting for?

Moving from the subject of our federal public safety purveyors, to the local, I call for the immediate removal of Ambrosio Ogumoro from DPS. The good officers at DPS must unite to bring honor, respect, and integrity back to the department. They should not stand by idly and allow this corrupt and incompetent individual to use the power of the office to intimidate and harass hard working and decent police officers.   Ambrosio was quoted during the impeachment hearings of saying that DPS does not have enough patrol vehicles or fuel for basic patrol duty, but he never explain why several government and police vehicles were used to assist and escort Buckingham in his effort to avoid being served the penal summon.   Wow! Not enough gasoline for regular police work but lots of fuel to help a fugitive escape justice.   DPS officers who feel harassed, threatened, intimated, or injured because they helped in the impeachment hearings should consult with the Office of the Public Auditor, Civil Service Commission, and their legal counsel. The law is on their side and make no mistake, these criminal violators will eventually have to face justice.

If we the people of the CNMI cannot expect relief from the atrocities inflicted upon us by either our own elected officials or by way of U.S. Federal law enforcement intervention, then I can only call upon our people to speak up and be heard by way of the ballot box next Tuesday, Nov. 6th.   All of the 10 conspirators (I have heard them referred to as “Ben’s-Ten”) in the House of Representatives who condone the illegal acts of Fitial and prevented the impeachment proceedings from moving forward, should be removed from office this coming election.

In addition, once the new Legislature is seated in January 2013, and in addition to renewing impeachment proceedings as a first order of business, this Legislature should also conduct public hearings to review all public land transactions at DPL for the past seven years.   It has become very clear that Benigno has been using public land as his own private property to reward his friends and to frustrate and intimidate his political foes.   He has given his supporters and political allies land lease agreements at ridiculously low rental rates and that allow for minimal or no enforcement for violations of the lease terms and conditions. At the same time, he and his cronies intimidate, frustrate, block and then kill legitimate land lease agreements that are associated with anyone he considers his political foe.

Additionally, the Legislature should look into the abandoned garment factories situated on public land in Lower Base and other locations throughout Saipan. They should find out why Tan Holdings has not been held responsible for the cleanup of their abandoned factories. The Legislature should find out if Fitial, his children, his siblings, and his other family members are shareholders of the Tan Holdings or if they have any financial interests in the Tan Holdings here and/or abroad.   The Legislature should ask, did he declare these interests as required by law? It is well known that the senior Tan is often heard introducing Fitial as the being the eldest of his sons. The Legislature should look into the governor’s connections and find out if Fitial is still an employee of Tan Holdings or if he is getting paid on the side for services rendered on behalf of the Tans.

I want to remind our people that Benigno Fitial has been the governor for the past 7 years and yet he refused to accept any responsibility for our pain and suffering.   The U.S. DOI recently released a report on the CNMI financial condition that basically says that we are “broke.” It will take a miracle or a federal financial bailout to get us out of this mess that Fitial put us in. Yet, this administration just doesn’t get it.   Why is it that he and his cronies are completely oblivious of these realities? Why do they blame everyone else but themselves?   During the impeachment hearing, someone suggested that Fitial should take the lie detector test. I am afraid that it wouldn’t do any good since a polygraph test does not work on pathological liars like Fitial.

Further, in a somewhat related vein, I was shocked to read that Ambrose Bennett was convicted of trafficking “Angel Dust” (phencyclidine) in 1977 and sentenced to serve 5 to 8 years in prison in the U.S. Granted, we all make mistakes and some of us, when caught perpetrating particularly bad mistakes, pay our dues to society. What I do not understand, however, is why did the Public School System allow a convicted drug trafficker to work as a teacher at our public schools? Was PSS aware of his conviction prior to employment? If they were aware, then the Board of Education need to reassess their personnel policies to prohibit convicted drug traffickers from teaching in our schools.   If PSS was not aware of his background and it is found that Ambrose Bennett secured his employment at PSS through fraudulent means by concealing his criminal records, then he should not be eligible to benefit from the illegal employment. As such, he should forfeit any compensation or benefits he has gained from his employment, including retirement benefits if he is receiving any. He should also be barred from any further or future employment in the CNMI government. And finally, he should include in his commentaries the title “Retired Teacher/Scholar/Convicted Felon.”

In closing, I would like to remind the good people of the CNMI that the list of serious and catastrophic problems that have been inflicted upon us during the past six years under the Fitial administration are too voluminous to list in this article. We are all suffering from the high costs of utilities, horrific stories at CHC, rampant serious crimes in our villages, grave corruption at DPS, nepotism in government hiring, and the list goes on.   We cannot wait for another two years for this lame duck administration to die a natural death. We must wake up and do the right thing NOW. First, you need to exercise your right to vote this Nov. 6th and remove the Ben’s-Ten from the House of Representatives; second, re-elect the Noble 9 who voted to impeach Fitial; and third, you need to demand that the impeachment proceedings be a top agenda in the new Legislature.

Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts. May God bless the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Dandan, Saipan