Propst on Espaldon complaint: This is not over


Rep. Ed Propst (Ind-Saipan) hopes that higher government authorities in Guam would look into the matter further, soon after a Guam legislative committee came out with the results of its investigation into a Guam senator.

The Guam Legislature’s Ethics and Standards Committee had issued a resolution that found Guam Sen. James Espaldon’s involvement in an engine procurement process by the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. had violated the Guam Code of Ethics and Standards.

The committee recommended Tuesday that Espaldon be removed from leadership positions for the remainder of his legislative term and require him and his staff to undergo a 16-hour refresher course on ethics in government.

The committee noted, though Espaldon may be subjected to other sanctions, up to an including discharge, should the Guam Legislature deem it so.

The committee investigation was prompted by Propst filing an ethics complaint with the Guam Legislature.

In yesterday’s session of the CNMI House of Representatives, Propst told other members that he wishes the Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office would also look into the matter.

“I continue to ask Attorney General Edward Manibusan to continue to investigate and look into this deal because it is clearly not over. I also hope that the FBI and the U.S. Attorney continue to look into this,” Propst said.

Propst also thanked Rep. Francisco Dela Cruz (R-Saipan), who chairs the House Public Utilities and Transportation Committee, and his counterpart in the Senate, Sen. Sixto Igisomar (R-Saipan).

“I [believe] I am satisfied and I think my colleagues in the House and Senate would be satisfied [with the Guam resolution],” said Propst.

In a brief statement to Saipan Tribune, Propst also expressed gratitude to Guam Ethics and Standards Committee chair Guam Sen. Fernando B. Esteves.

“I am grateful to Senator Esteves…and his committee members for the work they did,” he said.

“Moving forward, I sincerely hope that all elected officials in Guam and the Commonwealth remember that no one is above the law and that we all must answer to the people who put their faith and trust in us.”

The Guam committee found Espaldon to be guilty of receiving meals, airfare, and other travel expenses in at least one trip to Korea and several trips to Saipan. Espaldon acted as a spokesperson of General Pacific Services Marianas Inc., the recipient of a CUC contract to procure a generator for the corporation.

CUC board chair Adelina Roberto was related to vice president for GPSM Phil Roberto. Adelina declined to recuse herself from negotiations. The Guam committee found that Espaldon “in fact knew and in any event should have known” that GPSM sought to use Espaldon’s influence as a senator in order to influence CUC.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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