First lady’s ex-security detail, 2 others expected to testify


The House Judiciary and Governmental Operations Committee will open its probe into Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ expenditures today with the testimony of three witnesses, including a police officer who was previously assigned as security detail for first lady Diann Torres.

Committee chair Rep. Celina R. Babauta (D-Saipan) disclosed yesterday that the hearing will start at 2pm with police officer Jomalyn Santos Gelacio, Mathilda Rosario, who is the special assistant for administration to the governor, and Bernie Palacios, who is the chief of finance and accounting.

Babauta said all three have not given her any indication that they will not be attending the hearing, so she expects them to be present.

She did not specify as to what Gelacio will be testifying about.

In the case of Rosario, Babauta said the witness submitted an inventory list last year to the House special committee that investigated Torres’ expenditures so they will be asking her questions about that list.

Palacios, on the other hand, would be speaking about procedures that the Department of Finance has adopted with respect to reimbursement, travel, and finance and accounting procedures.

Babauta said the hearing will then continue this Friday at 2pm.

She said they are getting ready to issue more 1309 letters this week requesting for documents and testimony as well. A Letter 1309 in the Commonwealth Code refers to the acquisition of information by other lawful means.

Babauta recently announced the start of JGO’s investigation pertaining to Torres’ expenditures related to COVID-19 procurement, Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC matters, and travel and reimbursements.

Press secretary Kevin Bautista has characterized the JGO investigation as a political tactic.

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
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