Guerrero finally shows up at budget hearing


Department of Public Safety Commissioner Robert Guerrero showed up Friday before the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee for a hearing on the DPS budget, during which he apologized for failing to show up at the hearing Tuesday due to a conflict in schedule.

Guerrero assured that he meant no disrespect to the Ways and Means Committee and its chairman, Rep. Donald M. Manglona (Ind-Rota), and vice chair, Rep. Corina L. Magofna (D-Saipan), and thanked them for the opportunity to appear at the hearing.

Also with Guerrero were DPS officials—administration Kaye Inos, Bureau of Motor Vehicle director Juan Leon Guerrero, and human resources director Esther Delos Reyes.

The first day of the hearing was last Tuesday, but it did not last long as Manglona had decided to resume the hearing Friday in order for the commissioner to appear as they have many questions for him. Manglona then stated that if the commissioner fails to appear, they have the option to subpoena him to show up.

Inos, who appeared Tuesday with Leon Guerrero and Delos Reyes, told the committee that day that the commissioner had a scheduled prior meeting.

Guerrero failed to show up at thebudget hearing last year, reportedly for an emergency that he needed to attend on Tinian. He then informed the committee that he’s taking a medical leave and requested to reschedule the hearing. Citing lack of time, Manglona decided not to call Guerrero to a hearing.

At Friday’s hearing, Guerrero said that, although they asked the governor’s office for a $9.97 million budget for FY 2023, they support the administration’s proposal of only $6.89 million.

“We are cognizant of the need for other departments as well,” said the commissioner, adding that the administration assured them that the governor’s office and the Finance secretary will work with them in addressing any future budget requests.

In response to questions by Magofna, Guerrero said the department’s plan for the upcoming fiscal year as they had in the past year and a couple of years back is to increase police presence in the community. He said this reduces crime rates and decreases drug activities.

In terms of personnel, Guerrero said they have acquired enough personnel for law enforcement and managed to re-establish the Drug Enforcement Task Force to tackle drug issues.

“A lot of our drug activities have gone down tremendously because of a lot of police presence and a lot of the officers are more equipped with equipment that they may need in the field to do their work,” Guerrero said.

He said overtime is a big issue as it has ballooned in the last two years. The commissioner, however, pointed out that the overtime is actually paid for right now using COVID-19 funding.

He said they’re actually submitting reimbursement requests on a timely basis for overtime costs, which COVID-19 funding will cover, with the exception of those that are non-COVID related, which is very minimal.

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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