Manila says his drawing meant to support his suit was seized


An inmate at the Department of Corrections for 18 years now has informed the federal court that a sketch that he drew to support his lawsuit about going blind in his left eye due to the negligence of prison officials was seized by a Corrections officer, allegedly because it was an escape plan.

In his request Monday for the U.S. District Court for the NMI to appoint him lawyer for his lawsuit, Reynaldo A. Manila disclosed that he asked a DOC section officer last Wednesday, Aug. 14, to make a photocopy of a sketch of his (Manila) assignment area during the term of then-DOC commissioner Robert Guerrero.

Manila said a shift commander confiscated his drawing as it is allegedly against DOC policy as he may use it as an escape plan.

Manila said he explained to the shift commander that he did not draw from the blueprint but drew it based on his familiarity with the area of his assignment.

He said he further explained that he will use the drawing as evidence to support his claims in his lawsuit.

Manila said he is not stupid to submit the drawing to the court for the purpose of escaping.

Manila said that a few hours later, a Corrections officer confiscated his pen, pencil, highlight marker, ruler, and dictionary that he used to work on his case.

He said the Corrections officer told him that if he wanted to get back the items, he needs to make a request to DOC director Georgia Cabrera.

Manila also stated that he was allowed access to a computer for legal research, but he could not use the computer last Aug. 9 because the internet cable was missing. He said the shift commander told him he has no idea who stole the internet cable.

Manila asked the court to appoint a lawyer for him as he is having pain in both eyes.

Manila is suing Guerrero and two other officials over the blindness of his left eye.

Recently, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona denied a motion to dismiss Manila’s lawsuit.

Guerrero, who is currently the Department of Public Safety commissioner, was the DOC commissioner when Manila was diagnosed with retinal detachment in the left eye.

Manila sued Guerrero and DOC officials Cabrera and Jose K. Pangelinan in their personal capacity for alleged violations of his Eight Amendment right to adequate medical care.

Cabrera used to serve as DOC commissioner, while Pangelinan served as acting DOC commissioner when Guerrero was transferred to DPS. Cabrera and Pangelinan are still DOC officials.

Manila has no lawyer.

In Guerrero’s defense to Manila’s lawsuit, the Office of the Attorney General asserted that Manila’s injuries, if any, were caused by the malpractice of his treating professionals.

OAG Civil Division chief Christopher M. Timmons, said Guerrero did not violate any of Manila’s rights.

Timmons said Guerrero has qualified immunity from suit.

Manila was 39 years old when the Superior Court sentenced him in June 2002 to 60 years in prison for second degree murder over the death of his 6-month old goddaughter in November 2000.

Manila is now 57 years old.

Then-chief prosecutor Clyde Lemons said the doctor testified that the baby had died after being shaken “very hard,” consistent with shaken baby syndrome.

Up to now, Manila insists he did not kill the child.

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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