JGO committee resumes probe on Torres’ expenditures


The House Judiciary and Governmental Operations Committee resumed its investigation into the governor’s and the first lady’s expenditures and travels yesterday, with committee members focusing on the purchase of a car battery in 2019 in questioning special assistant for administration Mathilda A. Rosario.

Committee member Rep. Christina E. Sablan D-Saipan) asked Rosario about some documents regarding the purchase of the car battery, which reportedly showed that Gov. Ralph DLG Torres purchased the car battery worth $112 for his private vehicle at CarQuest in 2019 and then asked the Department of Finance for reimbursement.

When Saipan Tribune left the House chamber at 3:30pm yesterday, Rosario, who was with counsel Viola Alepuyo, was still testifying. Rosario was testifying through a Chamorro translator/interpreter. She will continue her testimony today, Friday, at 1:30pm.

Sablan showed a memo dated Jan. 20, 2019, in which Torres reportedly asked the Finance secretary for reimbursement on a car battery.

Sablan also showed a receipt from CarQuest that’s attached to the memo, that Torres purchased the car battery on Jan. 28, 2019, or two days prior to the memo. Sablan pointed to a handwritten note on the receipt that indicates the license plate number for the vehicle for which the car battery was purchased for. Sablan said the total amount of reimbursement requested was $112. Sablan asked Rosario if she recognizes the handwriting on this receipt. In response, Rosario said she does not.

Rosario said the car battery was not recorded in the inventory for the Office of the Governor, nor has she seen a car battery in the Office of the Governor.

Rosario said she does not recognize the car with license plate ADG-282, to which the car battery was purchased for.

Rep. Edwin K. Propst (D-Saipan) asked Rosario based on her experience if she feels that it’s acceptable to buy a car battery for personal vehicle and get reimbursed for it.

“I have not seen that being done,” Rosario said. “I have never seen it even up to the present time.”

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 ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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