New House panel to look into governor’s spending

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SPEAKER Blas Jonathan “BJ” T. Attao on Monday established a new special committee, this time to review the “executive expenditures” of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres.

The members are:

1) Rep. Ralph N. Yumul, chairman

2) Vice Speaker Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero, vice chairman

3) House Floor Leader John Paul P. Sablan

4) Rep. Luis John DLG Castro

5) House Minority Leader Edwin K. Propst

6) Rep. Christina M. Sablan

7) Rep. Donald M. Manglona

8) Rep. Edmund S. Villagomez

The last four members comprise the House minority bloc.

According to Speaker Attao, the House Committee on Ways and Means has received materials concerning expenditures and reimbursements of the administration.

 

Speaker Blas Jonathan "BJ" Attao and Rep. Tina Sablan converse during a break from a House session in May. Photo by K-Andrea Evarose S. Limol

“However, due to the issues involving Covid-19, as well as the extremely limited funds that are available for appropriations, the importance of the 2021 fiscal year budget will require the Ways and Means Committee to focus on the challenging task of preparing a balanced annual appropriations act,” the speaker stated in a memorandum.

“Therefore, in consideration of the issues and serious implications that have been officially raised relative to executive expenditures of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, I am obliged to create a Special Committee on Fiscal Review of Executive Expenditures to review said materials in a fair and reasonable manner.”

He said he appointed the members of the new committee pursuant to Rule VII, Section 1 of the House Rules of the 21st House of Representatives.

“I hereby request the chairman of the House…Committee on Ways and Means and the chairman of the House…Committee for Judiciary and Governmental Operations to transfer all materials relating to executive expenditures in their respective committees’ possession to this special committee,” the speaker said.

In May, the speaker created a  House Special Committee on Federal Assistance and Disaster Related Funding, which is also chaired by Rep. Ralph N. Yumul. Its other members are House Floor Leader John Paul Sablan, Reps. Joel Camacho, Joseph Leepan Guerrero, and Tina Sablan.

On June 12, 2020, the House minority bloc released thousands of pages of records of the governor’s first-class travel, official representation, reimbursement, executive security, housing expenses, and utilities expenses.

These records were obtained through an Open Government Act request to the Department of Finance.

 

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