Freebies: Legal or ethical?


A question has come up about “freebies” for public officials by private firms. Is it legal and ethical or neither? What’s the larger damage to representation?

It’s about integrity where you do the right things by doing them right. “A ‘man of principle’ is not a man who understands a principle, but a man who understands, accepts, and lives by a principle. Accepting freebies leads you down the path to compromising integrity.

Acceptance instantly makes you beholden to the company. It’s the beginning of turning yourself into a fulltime slave and lapdog. It often means ignoring the problems and concerns of your people in favor of the whims of your “new” boss. As is the blossoming case here, people at the helm ignore the folks who placed them in office singing the new siren song “bait and switch”. Trust turns history!

So what’s wrong with this scheme?

Obviously, the people you’ve trashed or taken for granted are not as stupid as you think. Intuitively, they know what you’re up to and sort of begin the journey of “pues adios, estake” when the election swings around for “payback time.” Not only would you have lost their graceful support, but your new boss would also find you useless and trash you too! It’s trash upon your own trash! Call it “nuance” in unspoken demeanor tiptoeing through self-concocted self-destruction.

Magoo said that the ethical side of the issue is uppermost in the resolution of freebies. It’s best to stay clear of it from the outset. You could sleep well at night!

Budget vs. claims: Understood the frustration of getting court-adjudicated claims paid by the administration. Thus the litigation that it is unconstitutional.

I also fail to see the nexus how a budget submission would be unconstitutional. Non-inclusion or omission of funds for claims is sheer financial negligence and incompetency of people at the helm more so than anything else. Playing the role of a mute doesn’t absolve the NMI government from its obligations!

Interesting the omission yet the corridors of power (Torres/Hocog cabal) boasts silently of an increase in revenue for the next fiscal year. Really? Has the color in the red sea of bankruptcy changed already and isn’t it another purposeful omission of fiscal responsibility?

I think herein lies some wide opening to force the administration to begin paying up its obligations like the $46 million for land compensation, $779 million in unfunded liability with the Retirement Fund, and other obligations. Sue for payment!

Class action: A class action lawsuit by land claimants ought to force the issue for payment. It should force the administration to buckle down to earmarking new sources of revenue to retiring this debt and obligation with finality. Recalled a land claimant who litigated it in federal district court where I was ordered (as secretary of DPL) to pay. I did!

The constitution also mandates retiring the prevailing cumulative deficit of some $572 million by the end of next year. In sum, there’s no room to wiggle funds for pet projects or anything else. To toy with it is to dig a wider and deeper fiscal hole, the largest ever since 1978.

Let’s see the dire effects of a lack of plan and stormy incoherence as the gap in trust between government and our people widens.

Sense of community: There was a time in these isles—not so long ago too—when a strong sense of community brings us together. It matters to us that our neighbors are doing fine. We share what little we have from the sea and farmland.

This has seemingly changed and is now narrowed down strictly to immediate family. It still is heartwarming the felicitation and sense of cooperation we demonstrate when meeting at, e.g., a village fiesta. Acquaintances are renewed almost instantly including extending a hand to our downtrodden brothers and sisters.

Comedy: The claim by the former DPS commissioner of poor eyesight in the alleged sex abuse of a minor had me tummy chuckling. I mean he came back for seconds and still hasn’t seen the poor creature before him? Or was the back seat of the police truck too dark?

Public perception of this issue has definitely spread like toxic tidings throughout the community. At a grocery store, a friend asked, “JR, are you 15?” I instantly heard chuckles all over the store! Let the legal system dispose of it.

The NMI government hasn’t paid its utility bill yet it has lights and air-conditioners humming daily. When I incurred delinquency I was disconnected. Interesting that we both are users of the same power source! Halo? Everbody home?

At the Smiling Cove Marinas were posted signs declaring, “No Fishing.” Yet folks stand there casting their fishing poles. I was tempted to take their pictures. Later, I talked to one of them who said he needed it for supper and lunch the next day at work. I decided otherwise. There’s a human side to most everything we do. Nah! When it comes down to real needs screw regulations!

Though she meant well when she visited an uncle at the ICU, I still couldn’t understand the advice she unloaded on the family. Said she, “Let’s accept it because it’s His disposition.” She’s saying my uncle would die as though she just finished doing skype conferencing with the Lord. Dumb head!

A friend who’s never eaten at a restaurant was asked how would he like his eggs. He looked up at the waitress and said, “I like it very much.” The waitress wasn’t sure what to make of it.

My auntie said she has to go to CUC to pay her “Ulithi” bill. Ulithi? Isn’t Ulithi in Yap State in the FSM? Or is the error known as Chamorro-Eñglis?

John S. Del Rosario Jr. | Contributing Author
John DelRosario Jr. is a former publisher of the Saipan Tribune and a former secretary of the Department of Public Lands.

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