Press secretary Angel Demapan said yesterday that Gov. Benigno R. Fitial is now looking into the concerns raised by Senate President Paul Manglona (Ind-Rota) in a letter asking the governor to suspend Attorney General Edward T. Buckingham without pay, but the administration said commenting publicly at this time is “not appropriate.”
“Governor Fitial has received the Senate president's letter and is looking into the concerns raised therein. As to public comment, because the matters being raised or either subjects of an ongoing investigation or may be subjects of a future investigation, the governor finds that commenting at this time is not appropriate,” Demapan told Saipan Tribune.
Manglona said yesterday he hopes there will be action taken by the governor.
The Senate president also asked the governor to investigate the actions of Department of Public Safety and Commonwealth Ports Authority officers for alleged misuse of government resources to prevent the serving of penal summons to the AG.
The officers involved included DPS deputy commissioner Ambrosio Ogumoro, the governor's personal security/driver Police Capt. Jermaine W. Nekaifes, and CPA Ports Police Chief Jordan Kosam.
“I'm asking what happened at the airport. As you know, I also asked the Senate Committee on EAGI [Executive Appointments and Governmental Investigations] to get to the bottom of what happened-was there abuse of power and misuse of public resources? I am confident that the committee will do a good job,” he said, referring to the committee chaired by Sen. Frank Cruz (R-Tinian).
Fitial, in a chance interview with reporters on Monday, declined to comment on issues related to Buckingham, his departure from Saipan despite being served penal summons to appear in court two days later, and the escort service provided by armed DPS and CPA officers to Buckingham.”
Demapan also said “there has been no indications to such,” when asked whether the government is paying for the $50,000 cash bail imposed on Buckingham.
Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman issued a bench warrant for Buckingham's arrest for not appearing in court despite penal summons served on him by an FBI special agent. Wiseman determined that the AG flagrantly disregarded the court's lawful penal summons.