Rasa haunted by ghost of his past •Prison record may cost him a high-paying job at Tinian casino

Posted on Feb 09 1999

Tinian Mayor Franciso M. Borja has called for the immediate termination of the contract of former House Speaker Oscar C. Rasa as consultant of the casino gaming commission on grounds that his employment violated a law that prohibits hiring of an ex-convict.

In a letter sent recently to Vicente M. Manglona, chair of the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission, Borja also pressed members of TCGCC to take back a government car issued illegally to Rasa, as well as refrain from seeking additional money for his housing.

Calling his employment improper, Borja explained that retaining Rasa as consultant clouds the credibility and integrity of the commission at a time when the island municipality is struggling to become self-sufficient through the casino industry.

According to the municipal mayor, the law was specific that TCGCC should not engage the services of the former speaker even in ancillary position.

“It is clear that both the spirit and letter of the Act do not contemplate the hiring of a consultant by the Commission with this background,” Borja reminded the TCGCC chairman.

“Let us haggle no more over this issue. Please take immediate steps to remove this impediment to the work and the reputation of the Commission,” he said in a two-page letter.

Rasa, along with his brother Ponciano who was then Senate President, spent time in a federal prison in the early 1990s after he was convicted for receiving a payoff from a foreign construction firm that had been awarded a contract to build a government housing project in Koblerville.

Sen. Herman M. Manglona employed Rasa as TCGCC consultant when he was mayor of Tinian.

Asserting his authority to expend public funds of the island municipality, Borja also notified the commission that he would no longer allow further payment to the former speaker.

The TCGCC chairman assured Borja in a letter that members of the commission are close to completing a review of Rasa’s contract and that a decision will be forthcoming.

“May you be comforted to know that we are now very close to completing a thorough review of that contract,” Manglona said. “Please know also that each member of the Commission has prudently thought that nothing less than complete and exacting review of Mr. Rasa’s contract would suffice in order to avoid any costly not to mention embarrassing repercussions.”

He added that a TCGCC vehicle issued to Rasa will be recovered at once and returned to Commissioner Jose P. San Nicolas, head of the enforcement division to which the car was temporarily assigned.

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