Marianas Variety

Last updateFri, 18 Jan 2019 12am







    Thursday, January 17, 2019-5:39:46P.M.






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Manglona: ‘Explain all this, governor’

SENATE President Paul A. Manglona yesterday in a letter asked Gov. Benigno R. Fitial to explain the Department of Public Safety’s role in Attorney General Edward T. Buckingham’s departure despite the criminal charges filed against the AG.

Benigno Fitial
Manglona said Fitial should also explain how he, the governor, could accept Buckingham’s withdrawal of  resignation. He urged the governor to suspend the AG without pay.

Press Secretary Angel A. Demapan could not tell as of 3 p.m. yesterday if the governor had already received Manglona’s letter so he, Fitial, could not make any comment.

In his letter, the Senate president told Fitial that he, the governor, should investigate the actions of DPS officers including Deputy Commissioner Ambrosio T. Ogumoro, the governors’ security aide, Capt. Jermaine Nekaifes and Ports Police Chief Jordan Kosam.

Ogumoro, Nekaifes and Kosam escorted Buckingham and his wife, Pam, to the airport at 3 a.m., Saturday, the same moment  the Office of Public Auditor was trying to serve the penal summons to the AG.

Sources told Variety that OPA asked DPS  to serve Buckingham the summons.

But one of the ranking officers at DPS told OPA to “do your job.”

OPA then asked  the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation which sent one of its agents to serve the summons.    Buckingham was already on the plane when he “got served,” Variety was told.

Noting that the police officers were in uniform, armed and using government-issued vehicles, in escorting Buckingham to the airport’s VIP lounge, Manglona told Fitial that the NMI’s law enforcers were “misusing” government resources.

“Please investigate and explain why taxpayer resources are being used to carry the bags of the attorney general and his spouse. Why was there a need to guard them at a secured venue such as the airport? If there was a legitimate threat to his safety, why was the media the only party that was prevented from approaching the attorney general and filming his departure?” Manglona asked Fitial.

“With all due respect, please provide an explanation for the record to ensure that you are taking this matter seriously,” the Senate president added.

And since Buckingham has already been charged, Manglona said Fitial should suspend the AG without pay. “If he does not have the respect for his own office to do that right thing and tender his resignation, once and for all, then you as this superior should exercise the discretion to suspend him,” Manglona said.

Buckingham should be arrested immediately for his blatant disregard of the penal summons, the Senate president said.

“As governor, you know full well that a suspension is reasonable and justified under these circumstances,” Manglona added.

He said Buckingham “should not be able to use one single penny of tax money to defend himself.”

He also asked Fitial to explain how Buckingham can retain his position when he, the governor, already accepted the resignation. “Once the resignation was tendered and accepted, he no longer had the ability to rescind the resignation. Once accepted the resignation became legally binding and a notice of personal action should have been issued consistent with the resignation,” Manglona said.

“The issues regarding DPS and the AG are extremely important matters. The people of the commonwealth have a right to a safe environment. Together we must restore confidence in the justice system,” Manglona added.

Manglona, in a separate letter, asked Sen. Frank Q. Cruz, R-Tinian and  chairman of the Committee of Executive Appointments and Governmental Investigations, to look into the mater “expeditiously.”