Pedro Dela Cruz has denied having a hand in an ongoing petition asking Rota Mayor Efraim M. Atalig to distance himself from the daily activities of his office due to the cases filed against him.
A source on Rota, who spoke on condition of anonymity, had said it was Dela Cruz who started the petition with a group of Rota voters.
Dela Cruz immediately denied that on the day when Saipan Tribune published the story yesterday. The newspaper has already corrected the online version of the story once the matter was brought to its attention.
The Rota source, who acknowledged making the error, said it was actually Peter A. Camacho who submitted the articles of the petition on behalf of the movement.
Dela Cruz, in a telephone interview, told Saipan Tribune that Thomas A. Manglona and Abraham M. Ogo had asked him for help in drafting the petition. “[They] came to me and visited my office for assistance in drafting the petition. …I just helped them draft the petition and I did not sign or started it. I told them that I felt the petition was late and it should have been done right after when the mayor was indicted.”
“I have done this just to assist them. If I want to, I could have done it myself,” said Dela Cruz.
He added that he made it clear to Manglona and Ogo that he doesn’t want his name to be dragged into the issue. “As far as I’m concerned, people should come out. …Not putting out your name is ridiculous, outrageous, and damaging.”
The petition aims to get 100 signatures from Rota voters. The petition, as of yesterday, already had 65 signatures.
Atalig is accused of using government funds for several off-island trips. He has entered a not guilty plea for the four charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, theft from program receiving federal funds, and one count of false statements in his arraignment last week at the U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands.