House member summoned to court

Posted on Jul 30 2019


A member of the House of Representatives had to put his committee meeting yesterday on recess so he could appear at a court hearing after he was tied to a public debt that dates back to 2002.

Rep. Joel Camacho (R-Saipan), who chairs the House Judiciary and Governmental Operations Committee, appeared at the Superior Court after Associate Judge Wesley Bogdan summoned the representative after a complaint was filed by an insurance company named “Marianas Insurance” against a former representative of Precinct 4 on Saipan.

“I went out to the Superior Court out of respect to hear out the other party’s complaint and to represent the precinct. If I hear anything about any debt assumed by Precinct 4, I want to hear what that is about,” he told Saipan Tribune in an interview.

Camacho noted that the alleged debt was originally about $400 and was incurred back in 2002. After accruing interest, it is now $900. He did not name the former representative who incurred the debt in 2002. He added that he does not personally know the former representative.

“I am not sure why they only called my office; I am not sure why they did not call previous representatives’ offices. They reached out to me, [and] I responded,” he said.

Bogdan reportedly presided over the case. According to Camacho, Bogdan requested for more information from the complainant that would connect the debt to Camacho’s office.

“…The debt does not belong to my office—let’s make that clear,” Camacho said. “It was very odd,” he said, baffled as to why his office would take up a debt they did not make and why he was the only representative summoned.

“I don’t feel like I should pay for somebody else’s debt that they created in the past and failed to meet their obligations before closing their term,” Camacho said, adding that he would have closed all his accounts before ending his term.

“I leave this all up to the judge. I have confidence the judge will come out with the right ruling and he seemed in favor of my argument today,” he added.

Camacho had to leave his JGO committee meeting at about 2:30pm yesterday and came back from the Superior Court after 3:40pm.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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