Ogumoro’s cash bail increased to $25K

DPS car allegedly repaired for $2,500 but sold to Herman Manglona for $50

Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman increased yesterday from $5,000 to $25,000 the cash bail imposed on former Department of Public Safety deputy commissioner Ambrosio T. Ogumoro, but reduced to $500 each the cash bail for his girlfriend and her brother.

According to court documents, Ogumoro brought a 1995 Toyota four-door Tercel that belonged to DPS to a shop for repairs using DPS funds totaling $2,500 in 2012 and then sold the vehicle as “scrap” for only $50 to Herman Manglona.

Herman Manglona, 45, is the brother of Ogumoro’s girlfriend, 43-year-old Katherine M. Manglona.

Former Department of Public Safety deputy commissioner Ambrosio T. Ogumoro, Herman Manglona (partly hidden), and Katherine Manglona (back) emerge from the courtroom escorted by Corrections officers after their initial court appearance yesterday in Superior Court. Ogumoro and the Manglonas were arrested for corruption charges. (Ferdie de la Torre)

Former Department of Public Safety deputy commissioner Ambrosio T. Ogumoro, Herman Manglona (partly hidden), and Katherine Manglona (back) emerge from the courtroom escorted by Corrections officers after their initial court appearance yesterday in Superior Court. Ogumoro and the Manglonas were arrested for corruption charges. (Ferdie de la Torre)

Ogumoro and Katherine Manglona, who is a former police officer, also allegedly instructed a DPS staff to bring a DPS desktop computer to a shop for repair using DPS funding in the amount of $276.

The computer was allegedly later used in the office at True North Bar and Grill in Garapan. Ogumoro, 57, owns the bar.

Ogumoro also allegedly gave his DPS-issued cellular phone to Katherine Manglona, who was then a police officer at DPS, but she did not surrender the phone when she resigned in 2012.

At a hearing yesterday, assistant attorney general Chester Hinds moved to increase the $5,000 cash bail of each defendant to $25,000, saying the government considers the three flight risks due to the seriousness of the charges.

In increasing Ogumoro’s bail to $25,000 cash, Wiseman said the former police official’s situation is different from his co-defendants as he has a pending criminal case. In that pending case, Ogumoro appealed to the CNMI Supreme Court but the high court has yet to rule on it four months on.

The pending criminal case that Wiseman was referring to is OPA’s complaint charging Ogumoro with 15 criminal offenses for his role in, among other things, shielding then-attorney general Edward Buckingham from being served with penal summons in August 2012.

Wiseman noted that there is an implication that Ogumoro may have violated his bail order because of the new case. He suggested that the government initiate forfeiture of Ogumoro’s bail in the pending case.

Wiseman ordered Ogumoro not to contact his co-defendant, Herman Manglona, and witnesses in the case, among other conditions.

Ogumoro appeared in court without a counsel. He and Katherine Manglona told the court that attorney Edward Arriola is their counsel.

Wiseman allowed Katherine Manglona to post $500 cash and $4,500 in unsecured bond, considering that she has no criminal history. She was ordered to stay away from her brother, Herman, and witnesses in the case.

Wiseman allowed Herman Manglona to post $500 cash and $4,500 in unsecured bond.

The judge also informed Herman Manglona that he has an outstanding bench warrant over a traffic case. Wiseman ordered Herman Manglona to pay the bail in the traffic case and appear in court for that traffic matter today, Thursday, at 9am.

Wiseman also stated in court that he served as counsel for Herman Manglona’s father, former senator Herman Manglona Sr., about 20 years ago.

Herman Manglona was ordered to stay away from Ogumoro, Catherine Manglona, and witnesses in this case.

Preliminary hearing for the three defendants will be on March 31 at 1:30pm and arraignment will be on April 6 at 9am.

Assistant public defender Matthew Meyer was appointed as counsel for Herman Manglona, who stated he is jobless and can’t afford to hire private counsel.

Office of the Public Auditor-Task Force Officer Melissa Bauleong stated in her report that on March 4, 2013, an internal investigation within DPS was launched to verify alleged illegal activities or transactions committed by Ogumoro with respect to the surveying of DPS vehicles.

Bauleong said preliminary findings indicate that Ogumoro, during his term as acting DPS commissioner, used his authority and position to orchestrate and manipulate the system into surveying several government vehicles, when in fact the vehicles had just been repaired using federal program funding.

Bauleong said one of the several vehicles that were allegedly surveyed in this fashion was a blue 1995 Toyota four-door Tercel with government license plate 38-06.

Bauleong said that on March 4, 2013, she and another detective visited DPS Bureau of Motor Vehicle where they found out that the Toyota Tercel with government license plate 38-06 now has a license plate AEF-382 and is registered to Herman Manglona.

Bauleong said a review of the file for the car showed that the vehicle registration application was filled and that Ogumoro’s signature was on it.

Bauleong said the bill of sale was signed by Procurement and Supply director Herman Sablan.

Bauleong said they proceeded to Procurement and Supply in Lower Base, where they met the procurement manager, who explained the process of surveying government vehicles. The manager disclosed that he does not recall ever seeing the Tercel car that was surveyed by Ogumoro. The manager said director Sablan told him that the car already had a buyer, Herman Manglona, who was at the area and that the vehicle was inoperable.

The manager provided the detectives with a copy of a memorandum written by Ogumoro to Sablan and the subject was “Survey Vehicle for Auction.”

Bauleong said the memorandum specifically requested that the appraisal value of the car be approximately $50.

On March 18, 2013, a detective met with the owner of an auto shop in Susupe that repaired the Tercel.

The owner revealed that a police officer towed the Tercel due to mechanical problems and when he told the officer that it would cost between $2,500 and $3,000 to repair it, the car was left in the shop for several months.

The shop owner disclosed that in September 2012, Ogumoro showed up at his shop and instructed him to repair the vehicle immediately—even if it costs more than $2,000.

Later that week, Ogumoro showed up to the shop and dropped off a purchase order for the shop to repair the Tercel. Upon receiving the purchase order, the shop repaired the car, which was later picked up by a police officer.

Bauleong said the shop owner gave a detective a copy of the invoice that indicated repair costs for the Tercel, which at that time had a government license plate, 38-06.

Bauleong said that, on May 24, 2013, she interviewed Bureau of Motor Vehicle director Juana Leon Guerrero, who claimed she was in her office when Ogumoro and Herman Manglona arrived. Leon Guerrero said Ogumoro asked her to help Herman Manglona register his vehicle.

Leon Guerrero said she took the vehicle registration form and filled it out for Herman Manglona, but Ogumoro signed for it.

Bauleong said Guerrero later provided a copy of a purchase order for repair and maintenance of government vehicles in the amount of $10,070.

One of the invoice numbers indicated that repair had been made to Toyota Tercel GOVT 38-06 in the amount of $2,500. A check was also attached dated Oct. 22, 2012.

On May 28, 2013, Bauleong said she and another detective showed a copy of the memorandum that was written by Ogumoro to Sablan, requesting that the Tercel be surveyed.

Sablan assured that he does not recall ever seeing the memorandum letter. Sablan said his policy is he would stamp-receive letters upon review.

Sablan said the letter did not bear any stamp from him and therefore he was certain that he never received or reviewed it.

Sablan admitted he approved the survey form because he based his decision on information Ogumoro indicated in the survey—that the vehicle was poor, worn out, and reduced to scrap.

Sablan then asked the Procurement manager if the Tercel was brought to their office for inspection, but the manager said it was never taken to their office.

Sablan stated that because Ogumoro was the deputy commissioner at DPS at that time, he assumed that what Ogumoro indicated on the survey form was true and that it was under that assumption that Sablan approved and sold the car for $50.

Bauleong said further investigation showed that the Tercel has recently undergone a new paint and is now silver with license plate AEF-382 registered to Herman M. Manglona and Joan C. Manglona of Gualo Rai.

On the computer matter, Bauleong said that on March 7, 2013, a detective met with a DPS employee who revealed that a Dell desktop computer as well as a government-issued cellular phone were allegedly being misused by a ranking DPS official.

Preliminary investigation showed that in October 2012, Ogumoro picked up the DPS employee from his house to check one of the DPS computers. Bauleong said the DPS employee was shocked when Ogumoro instead brought him to True North Bar in Garapan, where the DPS computer was inside the office.

The employee went ahead and checked the computer in the office, in the presence of then-police officer Katherine Manglona. The employee noticed that the computer was the same equipment he saw inside the office of his brother, then-police director Aniceto Ogumoro. The employee said he noticed that the computer still had a government tag on it.

The employee told Ogumoro that the computer needed repairs to the motherboard because it was damaged from electrical fluctuation.

The employee said Ogumoro later instructed him not to mention the computer that was being used at his bar to anyone.

The computer was later brought to a computer service shop for repair using an account from BMV. Katherine Manglona later allegedly instructed the employee to pick up the computer from the repair shop and drop it off at True North Bar & Grill.

Bauleong said that, on March 11, 2013, a computer repair shop staff showed a copy of job order dated Oct. 9, 2012, for the computer repair. The purchase order indicated that the cost for repair and parts was $276.

Bauleong said further investigation showed that there were cellular phones that were issued to Ogumoro under two numbers.

The detective said the cellular number using 670-285-9054 was issued to Ogumoro for him to use, but he gave it to Katherine Manglona, who was at the time still employed at DPS under the logistics and supply support section. In July 2012, Katherine Manglona resigned from DPS, but she allegedly did not surrender the phone.

On Feb. 23, 2013, Ogumoro allegedly called a staff from IT&E and requested the cellular phone number 670-285-9054 be disconnected because he didn’t need the phone anymore.

Ogumoro then personally visited the IT&E staff at his office to make sure that the number had been disconnected.

For the cellular phone number 670-285-5286, Bauleong said investigation revealed that the phone was issued to Ogumoro since 2010 and that it was being funded under a local account, and that the mobile unit was still in use under the DPS commissioner’s office account.

The detective said the cellular phone number 670-285-5286 had been in constant communication with the recently disconnected number 670-285-9054.

Police arrested Ogumoro and Katherine Manglona on Monday on Saipan. Herman Manglona was arrested on Tinian on Tuesday.

Ogumoro was arrested for misconduct in public office, theft by unlawful taking or disposition, and removal of government property.

Katherine Manglona was arrested for theft by unlawful taking or disposition, and conspiracy to commit theft by unlawful taking or disposition.

Herman Manglona was arrested for receiving stolen property and conspiracy to commit theft by unlawful taking or disposition.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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