April 14, 2015
Rowena Barcinas, a former Rota procurement officer, was arrested for theft by unlawful taking or disposition, conspiracy to commit theft by unlawful taking or disposition, and removal of government property. Her husband, Andrew A. Barcinas was arrested for receiving stolen property and conspiracy to commit theft by unlawful taking or disposition. The couple was in possession of a government-owned jeep Cherokee.
Tina M. Atalig, former secretary of then-Mayor Melchor Mendiola, Alfred M. Apatang, former field supervisor of then-Mayor Mendiola, and StaceyAnn Manglona Atlaig, former Rota Finance Resident Director all face charges of theft by unlawful taking or disposition, conspiracy to commit theft by unlawful taking or disposition, and misuse of government property. The property reportedly includes laptops and a typewriter.
Josepha Barcinas, Resident Director of the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs was charged with theft, conspiracy to commit theft by unlawful taking or disposition, and removal of government property. It was reported that she allegedly traded a government table worth $1,000 for cinder blocks to build her kitchen.
An arrest warrant has also been issued for former Mayor Melchor Mendiola who reportedly had 9 government owned (picnic?) tables at his residence.
Corruption cases filed by the CNMI Government rarely result in serious consequences. Case in point, ex-Attorney General Edward Buckingham is enjoying retirement in Colorado after being found guilty on serious corruption charges.
Ex-governor Benigno Fitial is facing four re-instated corruption charges, but his attorney and the CNMI attorney George Hassleback have asked for a continuation of the trial "to hold talks to resolve the case."
In other words we can expect Fitial to face no real consequences for years of despicable acts.
It seems that when the Federal Government files the charges, as was the case against ex-Lt. Governor Timothy Villagomez and the Santos couple, the consequences have teeth. However, when the CNMI Government files charges, those involved in corruption can expect a little more than a slap on the hand.
Time will tell. . .