DPS oversight hearing sought


Sen. Paul Mangloña (Ind-Rota) has urged both House of Representatives and Senate committees handling the judicial and governmental operations to conduct a legislative oversight on the Department of Public Safety.

In a letter dated Nov. 7, 2017, Mangloña told the committees that the recent spate of unsolved crimes, missing persons, and rampant drug use necessitates the oversight hearing to find out what DPS is up to.

Mangloña said that DPS has failed to communicate with victims of crimes, which he said is unacceptable because DPS has the “critical role of protecting people and ensuring people’s safety.”

“Victims of criminal activities are complaining that their cases have not been solved and they haven’t received any information or updates from DPS,” he said.

Manglona’s letter was addressed to House Judiciary and Governmental Operations Committee chair Rep. Ivan A. Blanco (R-Rota) and Senate Judiciary, Government, and Law Committee chair Sen. Steve Mesngon (R-Rota).

Both lawmakers have yet to respond to Manglona’s letter.

Saipan Tribune archives show that a total of 17 people have been reported missing since 1995 and not one has been found.

Manglona also cited reports of drug abuse and drug-related crimes in the community to call for the oversight hearing on DPS.

He said that drug use and abuse have “significantly increased” over the “past few years.”

“We have a widespread drug abuse problem on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. People are losing their jobs, their families, and some even their lives due to drug use and abuse,” he said, adding that even “good men and women in law enforcement” have lost their jobs after testing positive for illegal drug use.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres earlier said he is “genuinely concerned” about public safety, and was already initiating discussions to address these concerns.

“To be clear, no one in our closely-knit community deserves to feel unsafe or feel less secure in their homes or villages,” said press secretary Kevin Bautista, adding that Torres is in talks with DPS, the Attorney General’s Office, and the public to “ensure that our island community…will be safer for the future.”

Separately, Rep. Edwin K. Propst, (Ind-Saipan) had criticized DPS in a social media post and recommended that DPS Commissioner Robert Guerrero update the public on what’s going on.

“The public has a ton of questions and we are getting no statements and no answers,” said Propst. “He needs to give us some direction, some advice, [anything].”

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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