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Atalig joins Yana in statement vs Wiseman, Govendo

Suspended attorney Antonio M. Atalig has joined the statement issued in federal court by another suspended lawyer, Reynaldo O. Yana, who stated that Superior Court associate judges Kenneth L. Govendo and David A. Wiseman are not impartial.

Atalig informed the U.S. District Court for the NMI last week that until he saw recently an article on Saipan Tribune in the Internet, he was not aware of Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona’s order directing him and Yana to explain why they should not be suspended from practicing law in the district court.

Atalig said in view of his discovery of the article, he would like to exercise his right to file something in response to Manglona’s order by joining in Yana’s statement with respect to Superior Court associate judge David Wiseman’s judgment suspending them from the practice of law.

Atalig did not add anything to Yana’s statement.

Atalig said since he just recently learned how to use the Internet, he decided to test his knowledge by searching the news published in previous issues of the Saipan Tribune.

He said he found out that sometime in the past a news article about him and Yana was published in the website.

Atalig said in that article, Manglona intended to make a reciprocal discipline to him and Yana and that they were supposed to be given 30 days to make comments in their defense.

Atalig said prior to the discovery of the news article, he has not received any formal paper from district court ordering him to make comment in his defense.

“I have practiced in the U.S. District Court years ago, and I am not aware that any box there is set aside for me,” he added.

Last month, Yana responded to Manglona’s order by submitting a statement.

Yana stated that he believes that ever since Govendo refused to disqualify himself in the Angel Malite probate case, he has not received true justice.

“True justice requires among other things that a judge, who decides on my fate in a court of law, must be impartial. I don’t believe that Judge Govendo and Judge Wiseman were impartial,” Yana said.

Yana said he does not have any pending case in the district court and that he has no plans to practice in this court until the CNMI Supreme Court has decided on his appeal from Wiseman’s suspension order.

Yana said he has no problem for the district court to “rubber stamp” Wiseman’s order to suspend him.

Yana, however, informed the district court that he has “a statement to make.”

In his statement, Yana discussed the procedural history of the disciplinary case against him and Atalig, that according to him is “full of questionable events.”

In her order issued last May, Manglona said she has received from the Superior Court a copy of associate judge Wiseman’s order that indefinitely suspends Atalig and Yana from the practice of law in the Commonwealth.

Manglona gave Atalig and Yana 30 days to inform her of any claim that the imposition of the identical discipline in district court would be unwarranted and the reasons.

Last May 16, Wiseman ordered the suspension of Atalig and Yana from practicing law in the CNMI for misconduct with regards to their refusal to return $1.1 million in attorneys’ fees that the two lawyers received from the Malite estate.

Wiseman ordered that the suspension is indefinite until Atalig and Yana have complied with some conditions.

By Ferdie de la Torre

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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