The decision by the Guam Senate Committee on Ethics to recommend the censure of Sen. Espaldon came as a surprise to some degree but anything is possible in politics. As for his guilt, it is still not clearly defined as the facts are left up to interpretation, with intent being the real deciding factor. I would like to believe that the senator had no ill intent and the assertion of him being compensated with travel and food to help GPSM is a bit of a stretch because he never received any financial gain. Heck, the CNMI just experienced the same thing with the plane ride and treats for our leaders when they went to Hong Kong. So much of this is up to interpretation, and not knowing the true politics of the committee is also something that needs to be considered. Were the members of the Ethics Committee truly objective and were any of these members already against the senator for political reasons? I am not saying they were biased but we really don’t know the politics of this decision. In fact, it was stated by Sen. Estevez that, “it is imperative…to also understand that the realm of ethics, unlike that of law, is inherently subjective and that these findings and recommendations alone do not reflect on Sen. Espaldon’s person or character.”
Giving Rep. Propst credit for destroying the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. board and for trying to destroy a senator is nothing to gloat about, which is what my critics are doing—celebrating destruction—but we still don’t have the needed engine, which was and still is the people’s goal. The two wrongs that Rep. Propst has alleged did not solve the problem to get it right at CUC. I’m sure some readers, especially my critics, still don’t get it because trying to expose two wrongs still doesn’t make anything right!
It should also be noted that the alleged ethics violation, that meals, airfare, and other travel expenses in at least one trip to Korea and several trips to Saipan during the negotiation for the power plant purchase and that a conflict of interest on the part of Espaldon when he brokered for GPSM, whose executives include his former chief of staff, Phil Roberto, and Robert and Amelia Toelkes, don’t hold any real proof of intent to defraud anyone—nothing was a secret. In fact, if his position as a senator played on the Selection Committee, that is the fault of the committee to allow his position to play on them, which is not Sen. Espaldon’s fault as he was not functioning as a senator!
The two wrongs alleged by Rep. Propst put all of us in a predicament of still needing a new engine, so where is his one right? What has Rep. Propst done to fix the problem is the true question that needs to be addressed. Destroying the board and the senator didn’t do one thing to help us with getting the engine, which is the very core of my rationale on this issue. I am sure the average person care more about getting the engine than crediting Rep. Propst with destroying the board over allegations that still haven’t been proven to this very day; just a belief of impropriety. No one knows the true intent of the senator’s relations with GPSM but I’m sure we will find out when he finally gets a chance to defend himself as he was not afforded this opportunity by the committee. But there will always be those crying and screaming to sacrifice someone over finding a solution to the problem.
My critics should also wait until the full body of the Senate meets and makes a decision before gloating about the destruction of a senator because I’m sure it will be the senator’s intent that must be judged in an objective forum. His actions only show that he tried to help, so proving he had ill intent will have to be the major question for the Guam Senate to ask. If intent can’t be proven, then he should not be found guilty of anything other than helping people. We will see but I won’t give credit to anyone destroying something but didn’t lift a finger to try and fix the problem. The governor still needs help to fill the board and CUC still needs a generator so people should be asking Rep. Propst what is he doing to fix the problem instead of gloating over his destructive efforts?
For many of us, we want the engine first and foremost but I know for some they will have to suffer load-shedding to understand the wisdom of what I am really talking about when I say two wrongs alone will never equal one right!
Ambrose M. Bennett