Probe on expenditure of other funds being mulled


Celina R. Babauta

With the financial mess allegedly left behind by the previous Torres administration, Sen. Celina R. Babauta (D-Saipan) disclosed yesterday that she will be looking into the expenditures of other funds the CNMI received from external sources.

“I know exactly how and where to look into next because the people have a right to know,” said Babauta, without elaborating.

Babauta chairs the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Government and Law, whose House of Representatives counterpart she also used to chair. She also chairs the Senate Committee on Executive Appointments and Government Investigations.

In response to Saipan Tribune’s inquiry, the senator said she has no plans at this time for her committee to continue the oversight investigation into the Torres’ administration’s Building Optimism, Opportunity and Stability Together, or BOOST Program.

She said they have already provided all 4,000 pages of BOOST-related documents received from their committee subpoenas to the Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Public Auditor, and appropriate law enforcement authorities.

“I hope that they are investigating it further,” Babauta said.

The previous House of Representatives’ Judiciary and Governmental Operations Committee and the Ways and Means Committee that was chaired at the time by then-Rep. Donald M. Manglona (Ind-Rota) conducted an oversight investigation into the BOOST Program. Both Babauta and Manglona are now senators.

Manglona chairs the Senate Committee on Fiscal Affairs and Committee on Health, Education, and Welfare.

The 22nd joint House JGO and Ways and Means committees had recommended that further legislative investigation into the BOOST Program is needed, and should continue in the 23rd Legislature.

Babauta said yesterday that the new House JGO chair, Rep. Marissa Renee Flores (Ind-Saipan), can and has the support to pick up the investigation if she chooses to do so and that is her prerogative.

Senate President Edith E. DeLeon Guerrero (D-Saipan) said yesterday that both Babauta and Manglona are at liberty to decide if they wish to further conduct a joint committee investigation regarding the BOOST program.

House Speaker Edmund S. Villagomez (Ind-Saipan) recently disclosed that he is looking at possibly creating a special committee to focus on the BOOST program, should an investigation need to be carried out further.

Villagomez, however, stated that the investigation does not necessarily have to start from the House anymore; it can start in the Senate.

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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