Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said Friday he found it troubling that the House of Representatives Special Committee on Official Conduct and Ethics did not stream live its meeting during which they tackled the two complaints against Rep. Edwin K. Propst (D-Saipan).
In response to a request for comment during a radio press briefing about the Ethics Committee’s meeting, Torres said that Democrat lawmakers always talk about transparency and that they have nothing to hide, yet the meeting was not streamed live, which makes him wonder why.
The governor said he is not sure exactly what the details were of the two complaints against Propst, but what is troubling is he thought it was going to be livestreamed.
He said all of his hearings before the House Judiciary and Governmental Operations Committee were livestreamed.
Torres questioned why the Ethics Committee, chaired by Rep. Donald M. Manglona (Ind-Rota), did not allow the community to see, through livestreaming, what’s going on at the hearing.
“That’s the troubling part,” he said.
The governor, however, stated he is happy that the Ethics Committee decided Thursday to move forward with the complaints against Propst. Torres said the House should look into the complaints seriously.
He said he is hoping that the Ethics Committee will stream live their next meeting, just the way the JGO did at every hearing in its investigation into his expenditures of public funds and travels.
The Ethics Committee had agreed to get more information on one of the complaints against Propst and to proceed with the investigation into another complaint against the lawmaker.
Manglona did not reply to Saipan Tribune’s request Thursday for comment as to why the meeting was not streamed live.
Saipan Tribune learned that the first complaint refers to the one filed last Nov. 9 by Grace “Pitu” Sablan Vaiagae over allegations that Propst had sex with several underaged women approximately 20 years ago when he was still a teacher at the Marianas High School and an employee at the Northern Marianas College. Vaiagae is a counselor and advocate for the rights of abused women.
Propst has denied the allegations in Vaiagae’s complaint.
The second complaint refers to the one filed last Dec. 15 by Robert H. Hunter, the senior policy adviser at the Office of the Governor. Hunter filed the complaint against Propst over the latter’s remarks that circulated on social media where he allegedly made physical threats and used inappropriate language against Hunter and other people. Propst said Hunter is a cyber bully.