Marianas Variety

Last updateFri, 18 Jan 2019 12am







    Thursday, January 17, 2019-5:39:24P.M.






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Retiree slams lawmaker

FORMER House member, current Zoning Board member and government retiree Mario Taitano said the recent comments made by Rep. Alice Igitol were “rubbish and ridiculous.”

Igitol introduced a resolution that called for the re-appointment of District Court for Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood.

Taitano urged lawmakers not to adopt the resolution but the House approved it on Monday.

In an email to Variety, Taitano said Igitol’s comments regarding the issue were “completely rubbish and highly ridiculous.”

“How can anyone appointed by the court to be a trustee defy court orders or instructions as stipulated in the Settlement Agreement? I highly doubt if she [Igitol] even knows of the existence of this agreement and doubt even more if she has ever read it.”

He added, “Her comment is definitely a slap in the face [to] numerous attorneys from here [Saipan]…. She is just another example of those who are not members of the program and thinks she represents the best interests of those who are. She may be a surviving spouse receiving benefits, but not with vested interest as a member.”

According to Taitano, “How can you be politically influenced as a trustee when the court mandates or orders your duties and responsibilities in accordance with the Settlement Agreement? It is sad that most of the members of 20th Legislature may have not seen or ever read the agreement. Or may not even know it exists.”

Taitano is critical of Settlement Fund trustee Joyce Tang, a Guam lawyer, who was appointed by Judge Tydingco-Gatewood. He wants the judge to appoint a new trustee from Saipan.

Prior to the adoption of the resolution on Monday, Igitol said she had considered some of the possible concerns regarding the issue.

For example, “Is there anyone in the CNMI qualified to be appointed trustee? Were the retirees adequately protected under...the Retirement Fund board of trustees? Was Judge Tydingco-Gatewood correct in appointing a non-CNMI individual to be trustee?”

Igitol said there are many qualified people in the CNMI who might be appointed trustee.

“But we are responsible for creating the current dilemma of the…Fund. We are too politically influenced on many if not all issues,” she said, adding that this is the reason why the trustee should not be from the CNMI.

Igitol said she also believes that the Retirement Fund board did not adequately protect the retirees’ interests.

“No! That was why it had to be brought to the attention of the court for the retirees to be protected by a court order,” she added.

Igitol reiterated that the federal judge was correct in appointing a non-CNMI trustee.

“First and foremost, [the judge] has to make sure that political influence on matters regarding the Settlement Fund does not happen and the retirees’ pension is well protected as we are now experiencing.”

As for Taitano’s criticism, Igitol said: “I think Mr. Mario Taitano is personally attacking me. Why? I only [introduced] a resolution to support Judge Tydingco-Gatewood. What’s wrong with that? There is nothing wrong with my resolution. I am only asking the governor to support her reappointment. I believe in her, as a woman. I think she’s done a good job for the CNMI, and I believe she did the right thing appointing a non-CNMI resident to be the trustee. Calling my comment rubbish and ridiculous is complete nonsense!”