US govt not opposed to DFEMS chief testifying


The U.S. government does not oppose Rota Mayor Efraim M. Atalig’s request for the federal court to determine prior to the trial whether Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services Commissioner Dennis James C. Mendiola has a valid basis for asserting his Fifth Amendment privilege if he is called to testify at trial.

The Fifth Amendment protects individuals from being forced to incriminate themselves.

Assistant U.S. attorney Eric S. O’Malley informed the U.S. District Court for the NMI yesterday that, although the parties have sought to resolve the issue regarding Mendiola through a stipulation of facts, they have not, at this time, been able to come to an agreement. In light of this, O’Malley said the U.S. government does not oppose the mayor’s request.

Atalig intends to call Mendiola to testify at trial in the case against him (Atalig) and his girlfriend in federal court.

Mendiola used to serve as Rota DFEMS deputy commissioner. He was among the eight Rota officials, including Efraim Atalig, that the Office of the Attorney General had charged with misconduct in public office before the Superior Court. OAG, however, later dropped the charge against Mendiola.

The case stems from an alleged Republican rally in Guam in June 2018 that the Rota officials reportedly attended in the guise of a legitimate government trip.

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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