Babauta slams leak of ‘incorrect’ request


Rep. Celina R. Babauta (D-Saipan) is taking issue with the alleged leak and posting on social media of a copy of her request for $3,385 in “subsistence allowance” that she said is “inaccurate and untrue.”

Babauta, who chairs the House of Representatives Judiciary and Governmental Operations Committee, claims that Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig may have condoned, encouraged or aided in having her “inaccurate” request posted on social media and wants an explanation from the official on how it ended up on social media.

In her letter sent via email to Atalig, a copy of which was obtained by Saipan Tribune, Babauta also attached an image of what was posted on social media.

The posted image is a copy of Babauta’s one-page Sept. 14, 2021, letter requesting Atalig for $3,385 in subsistence allowance. The posted letter has the printed words “Subsistence Allowance Only $2,500 per Representative” and “Special request?”

Celina R. Babauta

When asked about this, Atalig said he has not seen the lawmaker’s letter and that he has no comment at the moment.

In her email letter to Atalig yesterday, Babauta asked Atalig for a written response that clears her name “of this falsehood, attesting that this leaked information [for] the drawdown of $3,385, is not only accurate but untrue.”

In a veiled threat, Babauta said she may resort to “judicial intervention” in the matter, which means she may sue.

She said Atalig and the person who posted it are vulnerable and open to libel and defamation “as this is an attempt to ruin her professional reputation.”

Babauta said Atalig knows that the attached “subsistence allowance” request was never approved and, in fact, was withdrawn by herself.

The image copy of the request has no signature above Atalig’s name to show that he approved it.

Babauta said she is being targeted by Atalig and/or Finance staff/members.

“This [is] a serious matter that I take seriously,” she said.

She said it has been and will always be her standard in representing her constituents, to be honest and accountable to them. “Unfortunately, a select few in the Legislature refuse and fail to disclose how they are using public funds,” Babauta said.

She said she hopes that Atalig will implement standards of professionalism among his staff to prevent false information from being published in the future “in a feeble attempt to increase in political stock of any individual.”

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
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