Physical therapy, massage recommended for Fitial


Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman has requested and recommended to Department of Corrections Commissioner Robert Guerrero to make reasonable efforts to accommodate treatments for convicted former governor Benigno R. Fitial.



In a written sentencing order issued on Friday, Wiseman made such recommendation to DOC commissioner Guerrero in view of the 69-year-old Fitials’ need to continue physical treatment therapy.

Wiseman requested Guerrero to allow the former chief executive to continue to have his physical therapist provide him the therapy he needs.

The judge said in the physical therapist’s absence, he asked Guerrero to allow him to have the physical massages he needs as an interim or supplemental therapy.

Last Wednesday, Wiseman slapped Fitial with six years in prison, all suspended except one year.

Wiseman ordered Fitial to pay a $6,000 fine and $100 in court assessment fee.

On the restitution matter, Wiseman ordered Fitial to pay it in amount to be determined at a later time.

Fitial was ordered to start serving the prison term at DOC on or before July 6, 2015. His release date is July 6, 2016.

On Thursday, the Board of Parole arranged a pardon hearing for the former governor.

Board of Parole chair Ramon B. Camacho placed a newspaper announcement for the pardon hearing at the Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe on June 30 at 9am and, if necessary, the following day, July 1, at 9am.

In the announcement, Camacho said the board will be considering whether to support or object to a pardon for Fitial.

Camacho said after hearing public testimony and discussing the matter, the board will then vote on whether to support or object to Gov. Eloy S. Inos’ issuance of a pardon.

In a phone interview, Camacho said an individual requested the board to hold a pardon hearing so they have to act on it by setting a public hearing.

Camacho said pursuant to the constitution, the governor has to consult with the board on the issue of granting pardon to Fitial.

Wiseman allowed Fitial to start serving the prison term at DOC on or before July 6, 2015, after attorney Stephen Nutting, counsel for Fitial, informed the court that the former governor needs to go back to the Philippines in the next few days for his ongoing medical rehabilitation/treatment.

Fitial signed a plea agreement with the government and pleaded guilty last May 13 to misconduct in public office and conspiracy to commit theft of services, making him to become the first governor of the CNMI convicted of crimes.

The offense of misconduct in public office refers to the time when Fitial had his masseuse—a female Chinese who was at that time a federal prisoner at DOC—temporarily released so she could massage him at his house on Jan. 8, 2010.

The conspiracy to commit theft of services refers to Fitial’s role in former attorney general Edward T. Buckingham’s efforts to evade lawful service of process during his departure from the Commonwealth at the Francisco C. Ada-Saipan International Airport on Aug. 3 or 4, 2012.

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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