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CNMI House Member Allegedly Threatened By Senator
Senator Juan Ayuyu denies ‘death threats’ against Janet Maratita

By Haidee V. Eugenio

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Dec. 6, 2012) – In the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Rep. Janet Maratita (IR-Saipan) said Sen. Juan Ayuyu (Ind-Rota) repeatedly threatened to kill her when the senator was talking to Maratita's lawyer, Ray Quichocho, on Tuesday afternoon about the no-bid $190.8- million diesel power purchase deal, but Ayuyu said yesterday he did not make any such death threats.

Maratita happened to be in the room discussing some matters with her lawyer, Quichocho, when Ayuyu phoned Quichocho. The lawyer's cellular phone was on speaker mode, and Maratita said she could hear the conversation between Ayuyu and Quichocho.

Ayuyu said when he was making the call, there were two other senators in the room with him: Senate President Paul Manglona (Ind-Rota) and Senate Vice President Jude Hofschneider (R-Tinian).

"I know what I said. I didn't make those threats," Ayuyu told Saipan Tribune.

Maratita and Quichocho said in their complaint filed with the Department of Public Safety on Tuesday that Ayuyu made "numerous" threats in Chamorro to "kill" Maratita.

Quichocho said: "Senator Ayuyu was making threats toward his client Ms. Maratita and that Senator Ayuyu sounded very angry."

Maratita and Quichocho told police that Ayuyu said this over the phone, addressed to Quichocho: "Sangani I yomu client na bai hu sen puno gui, ya chania hu fafattu magi gi Senate sa an masuda ham gi hallway ta fan atitek! Ta fan apuno! Bai hu sen puno enao I yomu client as Janet! (Tell your client that I am going to kill her, she should not come to the Senate because when we meet in the hallway we are going to tear each other up and break each other. We are going to kill each other. I am really going to kill your client Janet)."

Ayuyu, in a phone interview yesterday, said he told Quichocho over the phone that if he sees Maratita in the Legislature's hallway, he will tell her his frustration related to her letter addressed to the senator.

Maratita wrote a letter to Ayuyu on Monday, asking him to stop meeting with Saipan Development LLC (SDLLC) officials on the power purchase agreement so as not to compromise their legal position on the case. Maratita was referring to a meeting two weeks ago between SDLLC adviser Kenneth Mahmood, Ayuyu, Hofschneider, and Sen. Ralph Torres (R-Saipan). Also in that meeting was Gov. Benigno R. Fitial.

Maratita, along with Rep. Ray Yumul (IR-Saipan) and the Senate, filed a lawsuit against the PPA and there is currently an injunction on that PPA.

Ayuyu said yesterday that he asked Quichocho whether there was a temporary restraining order against him, prohibiting him from speaking to SDLLC.

SDLLC bagged a sole-source $190.8-million PPA for 25 years. That PPA was signed by the governor and former attorney general Edward T. Buckingham on Aug. 3, a day before Buckingham left the CNMI. The PPA is among the issues cited in a defeated resolution impeaching Fitial for 16 allegations of corruption, neglect of duty, and felony.

Maratita and Quichocho told DPS that when Ayuyu asked whether there was a TRO against him, the senator "made threats again by saying "Sangani I yomu client as Janet Maratita na bai hu sen puno gui! (Tell you client Janet Maratita that I am going to kill her!) Bai hu titek gue! (I'm going to tear her)."

In the DPS report, Maratita said that Ayuyu also stated, "Ti hu estatani gue, hu sen puno enao! (I'm not joking around, I'll kill her!)"

Maratita said in the police report that Ayuyu "stated that numerous times. I later learned that the phone conversation lasted for about 13 minutes. Mr. Quichocho stated that he received the call around 3:45pm and lasted to about 3:58pm."

Maratita, in a phone interview yesterday, said she is fine and despite the threats from Ayuyu, she will continue to go to the Legislature and do her job as a lawmaker.

"I trust that the authorities will do their job as I also do my job," she said, adding that she continues to feel threatened and shaken by the threats.

Ayuyu reiterated that he was only expressing his frustration about Maratita when he phoned Quichocho on Tuesday.

The senator said Maratita was not returning his calls and that she was "ruining my reputation as a senator."

Ayuyu said he was invited to a meeting with SDLLC representatives and, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Utilities, Transportation and Communications, he would like to get information about the PPA.

"She's stepping over my boundary as a senator," Ayuyu said.

Ayuyu reiterated that if and when SDLLC officials set a meeting with the Senate PUTC, he would like the meeting to be held at the Legislature and open to the general public.

On Monday, Maratita said that Gov. Benigno R. Fitial and SDLLC should be held in contempt and fined up to $10,000 daily for allegedly violating a temporary restraining order prohibiting them from pursuing and/or performing on the sole-source $190.8-million PPA.

Maratita, through Quichocho, also requested the Superior Court to enter an order to show cause why Fitial and SDLLC should not be held in contempt.

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