U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona granted yesterday Rota Mayor Efraim M. Atalig’s request to travel to Guam to attend the funeral of his sister.
Manglona said “upon good cause shown” she grants Atalig’s unopposed motion for permission to travel to Guam.
Manglona allowed the mayor to leave this Sunday, Jan. 20, and return to Rota this Tuesday, Jan. 22.
Atalig, through counsel David G. Banes, said his sister, Bernadita Atalig Lingad, recently died and that her funeral will be this Monday, Jan. 21, in Guam.
The U.S. government did not oppose the mayor’s motion.
Manglona recently granted the request of Atalig to travel to Guam last Jan. 8 to 10 to attend the 25th general assembly of the Association of Mariana Islands Mayors, Vice Mayors, and Elected Municipal Council Members (AMIM). Atalig is a member of AMIM.
The U.S. government also did not oppose the mayor’s request.
Last September, a federal grand jury indicted Atalig after he allegedly arranged a government-funded trip from Rota to Guam for himself and 12 other persons, including eight municipal employees, on a false claim that he was going to check for surplus or equipment at the Naval Base in Guam. Actually, he allegedly came to participate in a partisan political rally last June 23 in Mangilao.
The indictment charged Atalig with one count of wire fraud.
The Office of the Attorney General also filed on the same day criminal charges in Superior Court against Atalig and seven other Rota municipal officials in connection with the Guam political rally.
Atalig was re-elected as Rota mayor during the last Nov. 13 election.
Last Nov. 28, the U.S. government filed a superseding indictment in federal court charging mayor Atalig and his girlfriend, Evelyn M. Atalig, with five corruption charges for allegedly arranging CNMI government-funded trips to California, Republic of Palau, Guam, and Saipan under fraudulent pretenses.
The Ataligs entered not guilty of all charges in both cases.