Atalig OK’d to take part in assembly in Guam

Atalig

The federal court allowed Rota Mayor Efraim M. Atalig on Wednesday to travel to Guam to attend the general assembly of the Association of Mariana Islands Mayors, Vice Mayors and Elected Municipal Council Members.

Atalig will be in Guam from Jan. 8 to 10 to attend the 25th AMIM General Assembly.

In his unopposed motion for permission to travel, Atalig, through his lawyer, David George Banes, said that AMIM is holding its general assembly on Jan. 9, 2019, in Agat, Guam.

He plans to depart on Jan. 8 for Guam and return to Rota on Jan. 10.

Banes said that counsel for the U.S. government has indicated he would not oppose allowing Atalig to travel to Guam to attend the assembly. Banes attached in Atalig’s request a copy of a memorandum signed by Tinian mayor and current AMIM president Joey P. San Nicholas, who invited all AMIM members to attend the session.

Last September a federal grand jury indicted Atalig after he allegedly arranged a government-funded trip from Rota to Guam for himself and 12 other persons, including eight municipal employees, on a false claim that he was going to check for surplus equipment at the Naval Base in Guam. Actually, he allegedly went to participate in a political rally last June 23 in Mangilao.

The indictment charged Atalig with one count of wire fraud.

The Office of the Attorney General also filed on the same day criminal charges in the Superior Court against Atalig and seven others Rota municipal officials in connection with the Guam political rally.

Atalig was re-elected as Rota mayor during the Nov. 13 election.

Last Nov. 28, the U.S. government filed a superseding indictment in federal court charging Atalig and his girlfriend, Evelyn Atalig, with five corruption charges for allegedly arranging CNMI government-funded trips to California, Palau, Guam, and Saipan under fraudulent pretenses.

The jury trial in the federal case will commence on March 12, 2019 at 10am.

Atalig pleaded not guilty in both cases.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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