Despite calls for his ouster as consultant of the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission, Oscar C. Rasa stood firm yesterday that he will not vacate his post and vowed to challenge in court any decision by the municipal island’s mayor that will seek to force him out of office.
Rasa’s appointment as consultant under a $100,000 per year contract has been drawn into a controversy after Tinian Mayor Francisco M. Borja pressed for the immediate termination of his services on grounds that his employment was improper.
Borja contends engaging the services of the former House speaker violates a law the prohibits the hiring of a person convicted of a federal offense, as well as compromises the integrity of the commission..
According to Borja, he would discontinue granting housing allowance to Rasa, who under his four-year contract expiring on October 21, 2000 is entitled to receive $2,4000 quarterly, being the expending authority in the island municipality. Borja also ordered the recovery of a commission vehicle issued to Rasa.
In an interview yesterday, Rasa lashed out at the municipal mayor for seeking his removal because of a criminal record, saying the Revised Gaming Act excludes his position from those with pre-qualification restrictions, such commissioners, executive and deputy directors, inspectors and investigators.
“This is all politically-motivated,” Rasa said, “They keep on raising this issue and yet they do not apply the law to certain employees of the commission who have criminal convictions. This is completely discriminatory.”
Rasa said he would not step down unless the five-man TCGCC rescinds his contract. “I will not resign just because one opinion says so. Under the law, it’s only the commission which has powers to terminate my contract.”
He threatened to bring to court a decision that would cut his housing allowance and take back his car, a move which he said would constitute a breach of contract.
In his professional service contract signed in 1996 by TCGCC’s ex-chairman Jose F. Mafnas, former vice-chairman Antonio S. Borja and then commissioner Vicente M. Manglona, who now heads the commission, he will receive a housing allowance and service vehicle. It also provides for reimbursements for expenses he incurred in performing his duty.
“The mayor has no expenditure authority over TCGCC because it is an autonomous agency,” Rasa said, citing a municipal law signed last year by the governor which says that the mayor’s powers to expend public funds only covers the Office of the Mayor and the Municipal Treasurer.