Govendo dismisses charges against Ogumoro’s co-defendant Manglona

Herman M. Manglona walks free outside the courtroom after Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo yesterday dismissed the corruption charges against him following the prosecution’s request. (Ferdie de la Torre)

Herman M. Manglona walks free outside the courtroom after Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo yesterday dismissed the corruption charges against him following the prosecution’s request. (Ferdie de la Torre)

Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo dismissed yesterday the charges against Herman M. Manglona, the co-defendant of former Department of Public Safety deputy commissioner Ambrosio T. Ogumoro in the corruption case.

Govendo made such decision after assistant attorney general Matthew Baisley, counsel for the government, opted to move to dismiss charges against Manglona instead of responding to assistant public defender Tillman Clark’s motion for Manglona’s acquittal.

After the government rested its case yesterday afternoon, defense counsel Mark B. Hanson moved for acquittal of his client, Ogumoro. Clark also moved for acquittal of his client, Manglona.

Baisley responded to Hanson’s motion for acquittal, but did not respond to Clark’s motion and instead moved to dismiss charges against Manglona.

Govendo, who presided over the jury trial, granted the government’s motion and told Manglona he was free to go.

Govendo will decide this morning, Friday, Ogumoro’s motion for acquittal.

Asked why the government moved to dismiss the charges against Manglona after resting its case, Baisley said they believe the evidence that came in pointed to a situation in which Ogumoro was the one with knowledge about the repairs to the car, was the one who directed repairs to the vehicle, was the one who facilitated the request for survey, and was the one who made all the misrepresentations as to its value, $50.

“The evidence that came in simply did not sufficiently tie Manglona to the criminal acts in my view, and therefore I felt it was appropriate to dismiss the charges against him,” Baisley said.

The second amended information charged Ogumoro with eight counts relating to theft by deception, misconduct in public office, conspiracy to commit theft by deception, removal of government property, and theft by unlawful taking.

The second amended information also charged Manglona with conspiracy to commit theft by deception and receiving stolen property.

Manuel Vitug, manager of ELS Auto Repair Shop, testified yesterday after they fixed the DPS blue 1995 Toyota Tercel in September 2012 for $2,500 it never broke again and that no one ever called him that the vehicle broke again.

Vitug also denied the defense’s statement that the shop repainted the car.

Vitug said he can’t recall who picked up the car after it was repaired.

He said it was then-DPS deputy commissioner Ogumoro who showed up at their shop in September 2012 and asked him to immediately repair the car.

Vitug said after the repair, it was him, serving as quality control, who road tested the car by driving from Susupe to As Terlaje and Kagman.

He said the car climbed “very good” after the repair and passed the test.

“We make sure that we deliver in good faith,” Vitug said, referring to their service.

Vitug said the Tercel was one of the police vehicles that had been taken on and off the shop in 2012.

He said it was police officer Martin Kapileo who told him to pick up the car along Beach Road near Joe’s Bar due to mechanical problems.

Vitug said the car had no reverse and had transmission and overheating problems.

Before Vitug testified, Procurement & Supply director Herman Sablan took the witness stand for the government.

Sablan said Ogumoro told him the car was scrap and that he relied on that statement.

Sablan said he never knew that the car was already repaired.

Sablan said Ogumoro’s memorandum specifically requested that the appraisal value of the car be approximately $50.

The director also testified that he never asked Procurement & Supply specialist Anthony S. Manahane to inspect that Tercel, which was brought to their office in Lower Base by Ogumoro and Manglona.

Sablan said it’s not abnormal to sell a scrap car for $50.

In response to Clark’s question, Sablan said although sometimes he commits mistakes, he is not corrupt and that in fact some people tried to bribe him but he rejected them.

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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