Document Suppression Withdrawn In Guam Port Appeal Case
By Joy White
HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Feb. 27, 2013) – Attorney General Leonardo Rapadas yesterday withdrew a request from Assistant Attorney General Nelson Werner to Guam’s Civil Service Commission (CSC) to suppress documents filed with the Commission related to the appeals of six Port Authority of Guam (PAG) employees who were dismissed in December last year.
Rapadas’ action was in response to accusations made by Sen. Rory Respicio that the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) was interfering with CSC procedures by restricting documents the employees may need to defend themselves.
At the same time, the AGO also announced Chief Deputy Attorney General Phillip J. Tydingco and Chief Prosecutor J. Basil O’Mallan III have voluntarily recused themselves from the criminal investigation into alleged falsification of documents related to a worker compensation claim.
"The role of the Office of the Attorney General of Guam is to seek justice, not just convictions," the AGO said in a statement. "It was never the intent of the [AGO] to interfere with the administrative processes of the Civil Service Commission; we are only concerned with any criminal aspects that may or may not arise out of this situation."
"I am pleased with [Attorney] General Rapadas' immediate action, which now allows the civil service process of dealing with employees' complaints to proceed openly, fairly and unhindered," Respicio said in a statement to Variety.
On Feb. 20, Werner sent a letter to CSC Executive Director Tony Lamorena requesting that his office withhold certain information surrounding the processing of the worker compensation claim filed by PAG former Marketing Administrator Bernadette Meno, who now works at Respicio’s office, because it may interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation.
In a letter to Rapadas, Respicio said: "This latest attempt by certain individuals in your office – working with the port’s chairman and legal counsel – to interfere with this case and restrict the employees’ rights to fair and impartial due process through the CSC, requires me to stand publicly against any form of threats, intimidation or coercion against government workers."
Respicio also requested that Tydingco be removed from the investigation because he is the brother of PAG board chairman Dan Tydingco.
Meanwhile, Lamorena said the board of commissioners will meet for a motion hearing on March 14 for dismissed port employees Jojo Guevara, Bernadette Meno, Frances Arriola, and Josette Javelosa.
Marianas Variety Guam: www.mvguam.com
Go back to Pacific Islands Report