Ex-Corrections chief says Manila injuries caused by his physicians


Ex-Corrections commissioner Robert Guerrero insists that whatever Reynaldo A. Manila’s injuries are, they were actually caused by the malpractice of his treating professionals.

In Guerrero’s response to Manila’s lawsuit, he insists, through the Office of the Attorney General, that he did not violate any of Manila’s rights.

Civil Division chief Christopher M. Timmons also pointed out that Guerrero has qualified immunity from suit.

Timmons said that Manila’s claims are barred for failing to join indispensable parties.

At the same time, he said that Manila’s claims are based on a notion that his eye surgery was delayed by not taking him to the Philippines for treatment.

Yet Timmons pointed out that retinal specialists are not present in the CNMI and that travel with a prisoner requires significant inter-governmental coordination and does not happen at the blink of an eye.

Timmons said Guerrero and his co-defendants’ actions were reasonable, given the time necessary to address the international transportation of a patient prisoner.

Timmons said Guerrero could not send Manila to the Philippines as the Philippine government does not allow CNMI officials to transport prisoners to or through that country.

“It was necessary to arrange treatment in Guam and…those arrangements were expeditiously made by others,” he said.

Manila, an inmate at the DOC, is suing Guerrero and two other officials for going blind in his left eye.

Recently, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona denied a motion to dismiss Manila’s lawsuit.


Manglona determined that, on the face of Manila’s amended complaint, his claim against Guerrero and DOC official Jose K. Pangelinan is not barred by the statute of limitations.

Manglona said Guerrero and Pangelinan are free to re-raise their statute of limitations defense in a motion for summary judgment if they discover evidence to support it consistent with the law of the case as she announced in her order.

The judge also found that Manila’s complaint alleges facts sufficient to state and 8th Amendment claim against DOC official Georgia M. Cabrera for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.

Guerrero, Pangelinan, and Cabrera have been ordered to respond to the lawsuit.

Guerrero, who is currently the Department of Public Safety commissioner, was the DOC commissioner when Manila was diagnosed with retinal detachment in the left eye.

Manila sued Guerrero, Cabrera, and Pangelinan in their personal capacity for alleged violations of his 8th Amendment right to adequate medical care.

Cabrera used to serve as DOC commissioner, while Pangelinan served as acting DOC commissioner when Guerrero was transferred to DPS. Cabrera and Pangelinan are still DOC officials.

Manila has no lawyer.

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 ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com
Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.