The Senate Rules and Procedures Committee chaired by Sen. Victor Hocog (R-Rota) recommends Sen. Juan M. Ayuyu's (Ind-Rota) suspension from all legislative activities and matters and temporary stop to his salary and other office benefits, more than three months since being imprisoned for criminal charges related to smuggling of dead fruit bats. Ayuyu, 48, is facing additional criminal charges over possession of a cellular phone in his detention cell.
Hocog said the committee, which met on Tinian, will present the recommendations to the full Senate for adoption or rejection at next week's session.
Community members have questioned the Senate's lack of action since last year in disciplining or suspending Ayuyu.
Some said the Department of Public Safety, for example, has already recently suspended all DPS police officers and employees facing criminal charges, but not the Senate.
“We recommend suspension of Ayuyu from any legislative matter and suspension of his accounts,” Hocog told Saipan Tribune.
He said the Senate reorganization since the ascension of former president Jude U. Hofschneider to become lieutenant governor, and Ayuyu's delayed court hearings have contributed to the delay in acting on Ayuyu's matter.
Despite being in jail, Ayuyu continues to receive his annual salary of $39,300, $76,000 in annual discretionary funds that lawmakers use to hire staff and for office operations, and a $4,200 monthly subsistence allowance.
Hocog said if Ayuyu is convicted, the Rules and Procedures Committee will again make recommendation to the full Senate which he said is “most likely expulsion from the Senate.”