Illegal: $400K for MV Luta


At first glance I thought it was just another passing story, “Torres vetoes bingo board and CPA concession measures.” The crux of the article is buried further down. It is exactly what my lawsuit is about on the $400K funds for the MV Luta. In his veto message, Gov. Ralph Torres said:

“The local bill only provides that the funds be expended in the Third Senatorial District… The bill would sidestep the governor’s approval for the use of funds by allowing the delegation to approve expenditures through the passage of a mere local resolution. The Local Law Act of 1983, as amended, requires the appropriation of funds through the enactment of a local appropriation bill, not a local resolution.”

The plenary authority to appropriate public funds rests with the Legislature. It begins in the House of Representatives. Earmarked funds must have a public purpose. The $400,000 for the MV Luta was for a private purpose or family-owned business.

If you critically review Local Law Act of 1983 it reinforces the intent under the constitution on appropriation of funds. It says it “requires…the enactment of a local appropriation bill, not a local resolution. The $400K was done via a delegation resolution. It instantly makes it unconstitutional therefore illegal!

Wobbly issues at home

It must be annus horibilis—horrible year—that we find very troubling. The pile of significant issues crumbling and turning into filth from self-inflicted negligence seem to mirror what lies ahead for the islands. Call it microcosm and keep your fingers crossed it is otherwise.

In the process we see the downward spiral or death of vision and leadership. I liken it to a total brownout. And nobody knows how to fix the pile of mess. CUC is broke!

You stand by the roadside humming, “Where have all the flowers gone?” Despondency seems the expression I hear most everywhere as folks turn frustration into laughter, declaring, “Up for you!”

I look around for proposals to improve the stagnant wages and salaries of employees on both sectors. I only met a huge fat zero stuck at Chalan Reda and Papago.

Kilili is the only one with a plan pushing for the implementation of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) dealing with the return of income taxes for working folks.

“EITC is a benefit for working people who have low to moderate income. A tax credit means more money in your pocket. It reduces the amount of tax you owe and may also give you a refund.” We need to review this in terms what’s the federal definition of “low to moderate” income. I know that the feds define poverty income level of between $24K-$26K for a family of two and four.

The failure of the 902 Entourage to resolve the labor issue spells economic disaster for the NMI. Is there a need to repeat the Sisyphus Syndrome wrapped in our grand negligence? Couldn’t we look for a taller and larger mountain where we could see forever? A single trip up the hill ought to resolve the redundant insanity!

Moreover, the official confirmation of a cashless utility agency by its financial officer triggered acute apoplexy among Da Boysis on the hill. Then came bad tidings of EPA’s likely imposition of $5,000 fine per day for violation of court stipulated orders. Dyscalculia instantly replaced apoplexy!

Ratepayers are likely to be on the hook for these fines rather than the real violators. This must change so each board member is held accountable for his/her actions, inactions, and indecisions. That you lacked cranial acuity isn’t a reason to pass your inadequacies to us! Since when are we supposed to pay for another’s crime?

We know board members ignored fiduciary responsibility on what needs to be done to fulfill court ordered stipulation in the hiring of a qualified CEO, CFO and others. Why must customers shoulder the board’s inadequacies? It’s all about competency, no more, no less. Is anybody home?

I felt the head wind gathering storm since two years ago. It has started moving in to make landfall. It’s here and there’s no room to board the windows of NMI inadequacies. Do we start buying candles and water containers now?

The board was negligent and derelict in its fiduciary duty so why must we absorb its incompetency? Pay for your self-inflicted mess!

Let’s see what board members Roberto, Torres, Taitano, and San Nicolas have to say about their mess. You screwed up so you must gladly accept the perfect royal screw in reverse!

The Deal: In recent weeks, the court dismissed first-degree sexual abuse against former higher ups in DPS involving alleged abuse of a minor. It was dismissed without prejudice. Reportedly, the AG has sought reinstatement of the case. Outstanding!

In dismissing the case the judge said the girl didn’t know the two guys were people of authority. Was she supposed to interview her predators? A sexual predator is a sexual predator with or without a badge! This is glaringly non sequitur when mirrored against the equal application of laws! Didn’t we learn equality in our high school civics courses? Evidently, is the girl supposed to surrender what little dignity she has because the predator is an authority?

Was it silenced for fear that the tentacles of justice may implicate some people in the inner sanctums of the second and third branches of government? So the rights of the abused were effectively suppressed to preserve the stature of alleged predators who are in positions of authority? Isn’t the very definition of corruption? Would any of the predators keep his silence if the minor were his daughter? I didn’t know corruption has metastasized or spread to every branch of government here! Inebriating!

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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