Rep. Donald M. Manglona (Ind-Rota), who chairs the newly created committee that will look into the ethics complaint against Rep. Edwin K. Propst(D-Saipan) said yesterday that he is planning to schedule their first meeting sometime next week.
Manglona said the first step is to swear in the Ethics Committee’s members fits and then come up with the rules. “I am working on the proposed rules,” he said, adding that their first meeting will then follow by next week if they can get the rules done by then.
House Speaker Edmund S. Villagomez appointed Manglona Friday to chair the House of Representatives Special Standing Committee on Official Conduct and Ethics. Its six committee members are Reps. Sheila J. Babauta (D-Saipan), Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan), Joseph Lee Pan T. Guerrero (R-Saipan), Corina L. Magofna (D-Saipan), Patrick H. San Nicolas (R-Tinian), and Leila C. Staffler (D-Saipan).
Citing House rules, Villagomez said, “Each member [of the committee] shall make an affirmation, under oath, that he will perform his duties…and…will not disclose confidential information acquired by him as a result of his participation in the work of the committee.”
Grace “Pitu” Sablan Vaiagae, who is a counselor and an advocate for the rights of abused women, has yet to comment about the creation and composition of the Ethics Committee.
It was Vaiagae who filed the ethics complaint against Propst last Nov. 9 over allegations that he had sex with several underaged women approximately 20 years ago when he was still a teacher at Marianas High School and an employee at the Northern Marianas College.
Propst has denied the allegations. He earlier also stated that Villagomez had spoken to him about the formation of the Ethics Committee and that he welcomes it.
Villagomez said his intention is to form the Ethics Committee and then keep it for the rest of the 22nd Legislature’s term so that if any other ethics complaint arises, they already have a committee for it.