Mangabao heirs want Finance compelled to pay $18.8M


The heirs of Maria Mangabao want the CNMI Supreme Court to compel the Finance secretary to pay them the court judgment entered in 2008 over the taking of their land in Chalan Kanoa in 1993.

The amount has now ballooned to $18.8 million.

They said the Commonwealth has not paid a cent to satisfy the judgment, which continues to grow at a rate of $2,886 per day.

The CNMI actually allocated $15 million for the payment of judgments but none of this had been paid to the Mangabao heirs, according to the heirs’ lawyers, Edward C. Arriola and Michael W. Dotts

An additional amount of $6,032,692 is also available for payment of the judgment, Arriola and Dotts said, but unless compelled to pay, the government has no intention of doing so.

The lawyers said the heirs have no other option but to go to the high court.

All judges in the Superior Court have recused themselves from handling the case.

Arriola and Dotts said Guam Presiding Judge Alberto C. Lamorena has been appointed to oversee the case, but the judge has been unable to act.

“Time waits for no man. The funds are available. Payment is long overdue,” they said.

While the case languishes, the heirs have grown old, many have passed away, and the heirs need the money to pay for their basic needs, the two lawyers said.

They said the people of the CNMI can avoid this continuing accrual of $2,800 daily interest if it is paid.

Arriola and Dotts said a writ of mandamus is the remedy.

Last month, the Office of the Attorney General asked the court to give the CNMI government more time to come up with a payment plan.

The land in question consists of 6,000 square meters.

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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