Mayor Atalig seeks court’s permission to travel to Guam


Rota Mayor Efraim M. Atalig requested yesterday the federal court to allow him to travel again to Guam, this time to attend the funeral of his sister.

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.

Banes said if allowed, the mayor plans to depart this Sunday, Jan. 20, and return to Rota on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

Banes said counsel for the U.S. government has indicated that he would not oppose allowing Atalig to travel to Guam to attend the funeral.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona recently granted the request of Atalig to travel to Guam to attend the general assembly of the Association of Mariana Islands Mayors, Vice Mayors and Elected Municipal Council Members.

Atalig was given permission to travel to Guam last Jan. 8 to 10 to attend the 25th AMIM General Assembly.

In Atalig’s unopposed motion for permission to travel, Banes, said his client is a member of AMIM.

The U.S. government did not oppose the 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 others Rota municipal officials in connection with the Guam political rally.

Atalig was re-elected as Rota m,ayor 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 superseding indictment charged mayor Atalig and Ms. Atalig with conspiracy, wire fraud, theft from program receiving federal funds, and two counts of false statements.

The Ataligs pleaded not guilty in both cases.

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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