Division of Fish and Wildlife director Manuel “Manny” Pangelinan has pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol and was sentenced to one-year imprisonment.
Pangelinan pleaded guilty to one count of DUI last Thursday before Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth Govendo; the other charges—reckless driving, no registration, and lack of safety inspection—were dropped.
According to an email from Pangelinan’s lawyer, Robert Torres, Pangelinan was sentenced to 12 months in prison, all suspended except for three days, with credit for 10 hours of time served.
Pangelinan was then sentenced to 12 months’ probation, and ordered to pay a $500 fine, $25 court fee, and a $120 probation fee. Pangelinan was also ordered to participate in an alcohol information class and was prohibited from consuming and possessing any alcohol during his probation.
According to court information, at around 8:30pm on June 12, Pangelinan received a call from his staff about a fire in Lower Base. That fire engulfed the Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC’s warehouse. Pangelinan proceeded to the location, because of DFW offices and warehouse’s close proximity to the fire. That’s where Pangelinan encountered Department of Public Safety police officers who were blocking off the area. Pangelinan was questioned and later arrested for DUI. He allegedly admitted that he already had a drink prior to going to the site.
In a statement from Pangelinan, he said he has learned his lesson the hard way and will use the experience to work to improve himself. He also thanked DPS and DOC officers for their professionalism and respectful treatment at all times.
“I apologize for my poor judgment. I should not have driven to the scene after drinking alcohol. I am sorry for the troubles I caused the police officers that evening, as they were doing their job. I accept responsibility for my actions. I apologize to the community, my family and my coworkers for my actions reflecting poorly on me and without thinking of them,” he said.