Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 19 Oct 2019 12am







    Friday, October 18, 2019-1:31:37P.M.






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Rota DOL director declines adult diversion program offer

ROTA Department of Labor Resident Director Dexter Apatang has declined the Office of the Attorney General’s offer that he participate in an adult diversion program to resolve the corruption case filed against him.

At a hearing on Tuesday before Superior Court Presiding Judge Roberto C. Naraja, Apatang’s attorney, Joey P. San Nicolas, said the government made the plea offer to the Rota official in Dec. 2018.

Apatang, who appeared telephonically from Rota, told the court he was not sure about testifying against his co-defendants which is a requirement of the plea offer.

The adult diversion program “is a voluntary alternative to criminal adjudication that allows a person accused of a crime to fulfill a set of conditions or complete a formal program designed to address, treat, or remedy issues related to or raised by the allegation. Upon successful completion of the conditions or program, the charges against the defendant are dismissed or not filed.”

San Nicolas on Tuesday also informed the court that he was withdrawing as Apatang’s attorney. The judge granted the lawyer’s request and directed Apatang to immediately retain another attorney to represent him.

Apatang told the court that a couple of months ago, he talked with four attorneys, but they asked for $5,000 in retainer’s fee upfront. “Which I cannot afford,” he added.

Apatang asked the court for additional time as he look for a new lawyer.

Judge Naraja granted his request and set a status conference for July 23 at 9 a.m. He also scheduled a hearing for June 20, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. on the government’s motion for trial continuance.

The judge previously found Apatang not indigent as he is earning $45,000 a year, and therefore not qualified for a court appointed-attorney.

Assistant Attorney General Robert Charles Lee represented the government at the hearing on Tuesday.

Apatang’s co-defendants are Rota Mayor Efraim Atalig, Department of Public Works Rota Resident Director Vanessa Charfauros, Department of Commerce Rota Resident Director Dean Manglona, Department of Finance Rota Resident Director Josepha Manglona, Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services Rota Resident Director Dennis Mendiola, Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Rota Resident Director Magdalena Mesngon and former Department of Public Safety Rota Resident Director Eusebio Manglona.

They were charged by the AG’s office with theft and misconduct in public office for taking government-funded per diem and salary compensation to attend a Republican campaign rally held on Guam on June 23, 2018.

Except for Magdalena Mesngon all defendants have pled not guilty. She has agreed to participate in an adult diversion program.