U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has allowed Evelyn Atalig to accompany Rota Mayor Efraim M. Atalig to Manila, Philippines for his heart surgery.
Manglona’s order on Wednesday allows Evelyn Atalig to travel to Guam on April 18 and to the Philippines on April 19.
While in the Philippines, Evelyn Atalig is required to maintain email or telephone contact (personally or through counsel) with the U.S. Probation Pretrial Services Office on Saipan.
Manglona said Evelyn Atalig must return to the CNMI as soon as treatment for Efraim M. Atalig is completed and he is cleared to travel.
These are the same conditions the judge imposed on Efraim M. Atalig in a separate order.
The U.S. government did not oppose the Ataligs’ requests.
Efraim M. Atalig, through counsel David Banes, told the court that he will have heart surgery or a stent placed in his heart at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center.
The Ataligs have been charged jointly with wire fraud, theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and federal funds theft. Each of them also faces a separate charge of false statement.
The Ataligs allegedly arranged CNMI government-funded trips to California, Palau, Guam, and Saipan under fraudulent pretenses.
The U.S. government alleged that the primary purpose of these trips was not official business but personal travel or partisan political activity, for which the Ataligs fraudulently claimed per diem and travel reimbursement.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to all charges. The trial will start on June 4.