Governor Denies Ordering Prisoner to His House

January 19, 2010

KSPN 2 Saipan News reported in last evening's news broadcast that Governor Fitial said that he did not order Qingmei Cheng to his house for a massage. Earlier he released a statement that said that he requested her release. From KSPN:
Governor Ben Fitial answered questions today about the late night massage he received by a federal prisoner on January 8. Quingmei Cheng was arrested on January, 5 in a sting operation conducted by federal authorities. Cheng was indicted on 22 counts of attempting to bring unauthorized aliens into the United States. She was denied bail by Judge Alex Munson. KSPN spoke with the governor today. In his defense he claims he never ordered the woman out of prison. “I want the people to know that what they're saying in the newspaper is false," says Governor Fitial. "It's not the actual representation of what actually happened. – I never ordered my massage therapist to be brought to my house."
This conflicts with a statement that he and his Commissioner of the Department of Corrections, Delores San Nicolas Aldan made previously. From the Saipan Tribune's article, Fitial: Severe Pain Promted Release (emphasis added):
Gov. Benigno R. Fitial admitted yesterday to asking CNMI Corrections Commissioner Dolores M. Aldan last week to temporarily release from jail a defendant in a human smuggling case-whom he described as one of his best massage therapists-because he needed her services due to “severe” back pain...
I made this request because this was an unusual situation where I needed to address the extraordinary pain I was experiencing and also wanted to follow proper procedures before a detainee is released from custody, even if only temporarily,” said the governor.
Read the rest of the article. Maybe he did not say, "I order you to bring her here, but regardless, she ended up at the governor's house at his request.

Then there is the motion for an evidentiary hearing filed by the U.S. on January 15, 2010 that states:
Upon information and belief, prior to her arrest, the Defendant was Governor Benigno Fitial’s regular massage therapist. Early in the morning of January 8, 2010, the Governor instructed C.N.M.I. Department of Corrections Commissioner Dolores M. Aldan to deliver the Defendant to his private residence for the purpose of providing him treatment. Prior to delivery, Commissioner Aldan tried repeatedly to contact Attorney General Edward Buckingham and the U.S. Marshals Service, but she was not successful.
No attempt was made to contact the Defendant’s counsel or the Court. Despite the failure to obtain prior federal authorization, having received the Governor’s approval, Captain Arnold K. Seman, Captain Georgia Cabrera, Officer Abigail Borja, and Commissioner Aldan escorted the Defendant to the Governor’s residence in the early morning hours on January 8, whereupon she provided the Governor’s treatment. The Defendant was promptly returned to the Department of Corrections after the treatment.

The Government submits that an evidentiary hearing is needed to ascertain the facts and circumstances of these events, and to determine whether any prejudice was caused thereby. For this reason, the Government requests that this motion be granted.
"Instructed", "requested", "asked", "ordered" - who cares? Qingmei Cheng, the governor's masseuse, was taken from her prison cell to perform a massage.

Commissioner Aldan's Actions Questioned in Tinian Case
Meanwhile, questions of another impropriety by DOC Commissioner Delores Aldan are resurfacing. Ellis Barcinas of Tinian wrote an open letter to AG Buckingham that was published in the Saipan Tribune on December 15, 2009. The letter accuses DOC Commissioner Aldan and some officers of violating the rights of Ms. Barcinas.

On July 2, 2009 Vicente T. Aldan pointed a handgun at the head of Ellis Barcinas who was his common law wife at the time. He pulled the trigger several times. Thankfully, the weapon did not go off.

Aldan was sentenced to 6 months in prison. According to the Saipan Tribune:
Associate Judge David A. Wiseman ordered Vicente T. Aldan to serve the six-month imprisonment without parole for assault.

Following a plea agreement, Wiseman placed Aldan on three years of supervised probation and required him to pay a $500 fine plus court costs and probation fees. He was also ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and surrender his firearm.

Wiseman allowed Aldan to begin serving the prison term on Dec. 7, 2009, at 8am at the Department of Corrections.
The defendant was also ordered not to have any direct or indirect contact with the victim. The letter from Ms. Barcinas to AG Buckingham questioned the actions of the Tinian DPS and the the DOC commissioner:
The Tinian DPS allowed the defendant to trespass on my property without my consent and tricked my daughter into believing that they had authority to enter my property. (I filed a complaint regarding this matter with the Tinian DPS, Case No. 09-000448.) On Nov. 11, 2009, between 10:30am and 10:45am, the Tinian DPS (officers Wally Villagomez and Eloy Fitial) came to my house (the scene of the July 2, 2009, shooting incident). At that time, I was not at my house but my daughter Vionna Aldan was outside the house. The officers got out of the car and held a piece of paper to Vionna, telling her that they have court papers and that they are there so that the defendant could show the officers where the gun was hidden. My daughter, noticing that the paper was official looking, just believed the officers that it was a search warrant or something like that. Besides, they told her it was papers giving them the right to be there. Pretty soon, the defendant got out of a rental car that came with the officers in the DPS vehicle and walked over to the side of the house. The Department of Corrections Commissioner, Dolores San Nicolas Aldan, also came out of the rental car and accompanied the defendant, Vicente Aldan. What is noteworthy here is that the Commissioner is also recently married to Vicente Aldan, the defendant.

My third complaint: The Tinian DPS and Corrections abused their authority. The Tinian DPS, namely the officers in this incident, lied to Vionna that they had authority to be on my property. The paper they used to pretend they had authority was the judgment and commitment order issued by the court. In fact, I was never served a copy of the order and it was only after I had gone to the Tinian DPS to file a complaint about this trespass incident that I was given a copy of the order. The order specifically prohibits the defendant from having any direct or indirect contact with me, and to surrender the gun he used in the incident. Nowhere on the order does it give the Tinian DPS any authority to be on my property without a search warrant. In addition, why was the Commissioner involved in this case if she is the defendant's spouse? Doesn't that present a conflict of interest on her part to be involved in protecting her interests, i.e. the interest of her spouse? She should not be involved in this case in any form. What is also interesting is that the case went swiftly from incident to adjudication, indicating that there's a strong likelihood that she exerted some influence due to her official capacity to get the defendant out of jail (so they can marry), etc? Did she also have some involvement in making sure that I did not know about the case, not made aware of the proceedings so that I can be heard, because it may delay the adjudication of the case? To what extent was she involved in getting the Tinian DPS to do her bidding, whatever that may be in reference to this case?
Today the Marianas Variety published an article which stated that Commissioner Aldan "declined to comment" and the OAG has not responded to an inquiry regarding the complaint of Ms. Barcinas.


Anonymous said...

If you lie too many times you can't even remember what the truth is right, gov?

Anonymous said...

Stanley Torres says:

"IT comes to my attention that most decent citizens of the commonwealth seem to agree that taking time to discover what is going on in a given issue is better than rushing to judgment based on rumors."
Is he saying people who don't like corruption and misuse of office are NOT decent?

"This is the opposite of what we see some few but loud rabble rousers doing right now in the issue involving our governor." If you protest the governor's actions you are a rabble rouser?

"It seems prudent and it seems the adult thing to do to wait and see what the facts are before running around urging actions all out of proportion to what little is known about this issue right now. "In other words, shut up , we are trying to sweep this under the rug with the other crap.

"It seems pretty childish and betrays a sense of bitterness that some feel about who won or lost in the recent election." Being outraged and demanding an explanation to abuse of office is childish! Only bitter people hate what he did?

"The bitterness seems to override their good sense." It was good sense to pull a prisoner from prison to give a rubdown?

"It would be wise to take some time and see what the principals involved have to say and what an evidentiary hearing brings to light before rushing to push for extreme measures." In other words, shut up so we can try to come up with a better story.

" In fact over-reacting cheapens your believability and makes it appear you have only agenda instead of reason guiding you. The rest of us see that the sky is not falling so claiming it makes you look a bit silly." No one said the sky is falling. People said the governor needs to GO!

"While a few let their bitterness make them appear easily “outraged” and easily “appalled,” it is way too early to suggest that Mr. Inos take over as governor. I would suggest you try some due diligence in place of your misplaced activism. Patience is a virtue." Yes, be patient while we concoct a story.

Who votes for this guy?!

scratching my head again said...

There has to be an immediate investigation of the DOC, its commissioner and its policies. The commissioner is a disgrace and unfit for any office. She lacks judgment in her professional AND in her personal life. What commission of corrections marries a man who has stuck a gun to the head of his former wife?

Anonymous said...

Someone who thinks he she is above the law? That's what we have here.
Just wait until you see the new list of appointed department heads the Transition Team has assembled.
A rogues gallery if there ever was one.

Anonymous said...

Watch the video. The governor looks like a rat caught in a trap. Even his usual Cheshire cat smile looks forced.

Anonymous said...

On KSPN the governor says, "What you're reading in the newspaper is not what is really happening...I want the people to know that what they are seeing in the newspaper is false... I am sure that a lot of people who lost the election didn't like me so now they're trying to do things that could hurt me or ruin me." HEY GOVERNOR NOBODY NEEDS TO TRY TO HURT YOU OR RUIN YOU! YOU'RE DOING THAT ALL BY YOURSELF!

Anonymous said...

9:17 Oh, please do tell -who are they?

Anonymous said...

Guam may be known as where America's day begins, but the CNMI is the REAL wild, wild west!

malou berueco said...

the governor made different statements. maybe he forgot that "HE HAS THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT"-for awhile. since he said this is politically motivated, perhaps there is a deeper story behind this. for all we know, massage or "service" was just a front! it reminds me of this so called "service provider!" which someone said would be introduce by DOL...funny!

Anonymous said...

Ellis Barcinas, you may consider filing a complaint with the US Commission on Civil Rights:

It looks like the OAG is ignoring your letter and complaint.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Torres lack of sense is harmful to the eyeballs

Anonymous said...

Shame, shame on U.S. soil!

Anonymous said...

Is this Vicente Aldan guy being held in his wife's prison? WOW!

Anonymous said...

Thank you GOVERNOR FITIAL for your unbelievably stupid actions. Thank you for hiring completely incompetent and corrupt officials. I have been out of work for 4 months, but now I can celebrate. I can write a soap opera about the CNMI based on your real-life antics! I'll call it As the CNMI Squirms. The first episode will be The Governor's Stimulus Package.

from middle road said...

As usual, the progressive haole outrage is based on spurious “facts” like those made up by Wendy, Tina, Jane, and commenters such as those above, who are so eager to use the local, national, and international media as tools in their sordid, sensationalistic, politically motivated gamesmanship.

The people of the CNMI give very little credibility to such media accounts because we have become used to seeing things reported in the Marianas Variety that we know for a fact from our own experience are flat-out false.

We would much prefer to trust the federal justice system where we ourselves sit as jurors and which successfully dealt with the former Lt. Governor. We are a patient, charitable, and respectful people, not given to sinful rash judgment or hateful witch-hunts led by Tina Sablan.

If the Governor has done something wrong, he will be called to account in due course. Until then, we won't be part of the unruly online mob efforts that have already done so much damage with federalization and the Unity March.

If anything in the current controversy damages our economy, it is the self-interested bloggers fanning the flames of political ignorance.

As usual, it is the poorest of the poor guest workers who will lose their jobs, further victims of the death-throw spasms of the electorally defeated, “well-intentioned”, do-gooder progressive activists.

Yes, we all enjoy First Amendment freedoms, but words have consequences.


Anonymous said...

"he will be called to account in due course."

Hey BB, Noni 10:27AM, Look at your watch. Due Course started three days ago. Time for the Governor to account for his actions.

You don't decide when DUE COURSE begins.

As for fear of losing jobs, the only people that need be afraid are yourself and the other political appointees that have no interest in the well being of the CNMI.


Anonymous said...

I love the way he ends his posts. Perhaps he didn't realize that it is so very fitting on so many levels. He should start his posts with BOHICA (Bend Over Here It Comes Again. Commonly used by military members when it has screwed you over before, and is going to again. Synonym Taking it up the rear.

That should have been Ben and Eloy's campaign motto. Nevermind the "let it BE". BOHICA 2010

Thats right CNMI, B.O.H.I.C.A! Fitial one more term!

B.O.H.I.C.A! from the spin doctors.

Anonymous said...

10:27 Tina is an haole? Are you on drugs? What did any of these women "make up"? Show us!!

"We are patient, charitable and respectful." Who is WE? The governor's defenders? What is patient about letting a corrupt governor run things? What is charitable about removing a prisoner from her prison cell to do who knows what with the governor? What is respectful about excusing bad acts of officials who abuse their power?

There is no hateful witch hunt done by these women. Any witch hunt is being done against them by the Fitial defenders! These people did not go to the media. The media picked up the shocking story and ran with it. Wait until you see what media outlets show up on February 17th

How is it self-interest to call attention to corruption? What could they possibly be getting from that except crap from people like you! Self-interest is the governor going against a court order and taking a prisoner from jail for a damn massage. NOW THAT'S SELF-INTEREST! Good try! Now go back to kissing the governor's butt.

Anonymous said...

Noni 10:21 You have a lot of material for your soap opera. You got the episodes with Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay making deals with Ben and Eloy. Then there's Ben and Eloy screwing the workers through the Tan garment companies. The deal Fitial made to steal the speakership. You got Fitial shouting at the workers to go home. You got Timmy, his sister and her hubbie stealing from the CNMI. The emergencies at CUC, CHC, and everywhere else. You can do a whole series on Fitial's Orchids and his backroom escapades. You got "Gives me the Willies" and Schemer. Don't leave out the drug dealer driver and include all of the sleazy thugs he hangs with. You may have a hit!

a decent citizen of the commonwealth said...

The federal judge should show the people here that the Governor must obey court orders or he will continue to laugh at the court and US.

The judge could find him in contempt, sentence him for one year in jail, thensuspend the sentence leaving him in house arrest with an ankle brace so that he can't travel.

Anonymous said...

decent citizen: He needs to serve time in federal prison. Let him join Tim. Then he really can't travel.

Anonymous said...

is it true that dolores takes her husband out of jail every weekend?

Anonymous said...

Look up "Governor Fitial" on Google and here are the "related words":
Qing Mei Cheng
Benigno Fitial
Northern Mariana Islands

Our islands are known world-wide as a joke. How long will we let this continue?

Anonymous said...

Sure governor, you didn't order her released. Everyone else is a liar, right. The gig is up! Come clean!

Anonymous said...

As long as the people of Saipan don't change the criteria for electing officials. Do not only blame my uncle Ben. Blame yourselves and the followers. You deserve it, you elected him. You gave him the chance and the position to do it. SORRY!