Torres’ chief bodyguard testifies before the JGO


Police Sgt. Joey R. Cruz, who is the chief of security for Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, appeared before the House of Representatives Judiciary and Governmental Operations Committee yesterday as it continues its investigation into the governor’s expenditures of public funds and travel.

Cruz, who appeared with government-paid counsel Janet H. King, said he was assigned as protective security detail for Torres in March or April 2016. After a year he became the chief of PSD and has been supervising other PSD officers assigned to Torres, first lady Diann T. Torres, and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios.

Cruz said he has not signed a non-disclosure agreement during his term with PSD.

In response to Rep. Donald Manglona’s (Ind-Rota) questions, Cruz said he has driven Torres to family and political functions.

The sergeant said he does not recall delivering any payments to the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. or making any other billing payments for any accounts on behalf of the governor.

Cruz said he was never been on a Department of Public Safety or Department of Lands and Natural Resources boat where the governor was on the vessel and fishing.

He said did not ever go hunting with Torres and his brothers in Boise, Idaho, but did go hiking with the governor.

He said he did not do any personal errands for the governor or go shopping with him.

The sergeant acknowledged picking up cargo for the governor and when asked by Manglona to elaborate, he mentioned sweet potato or fish.

He said he did not pick up any vehicles or any furniture for Torres.

Cruz said he did travel with Torres on first class on official matters, but no first-class plane tickets for him (Cruz) was paid by the government.

He said he has driven Torres to his residence in As Teo, where he saw a piggery, but he is not aware if it’s commercial as he does not know how may pigs were there.

Cruz said he has also driven Torres to a property in Koblerville, but he is not aware if it’s the governor’s residence although the governor used to live there.

He said he does not recall driving the governor to and from the Miller Estate on Capital Hill, but recalled driving him to the Flame Tree Terrace Apartments in Sadog Tasi but does not remember if Torres met anyone there.

When JGO Committee chair Rep. Celina R. Babauta (D-Saipan) asked him if he has driven the governor to campaign or political events on Saipan, he replied: “Madam chair, my responsibility is to provide protective service detail to the governor. Any functions, invitations, I’m there to protect the governor.”

Cruz has been a police officer with DPS for 23 years now.

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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