Unbelievably Unbelievable

January 19, 2010

For months CNMI leaders have been tossing around  ideas on how to raise revenue for the empty government coffers. Recently everything from Internet gaming, casinos, and medical marijuana have been pushed.

But why not go with the obvious? Turn the CNMI leaders' crazy, never-ending antics into a weekly soap opera/comedy series to raise funds. There's massage-gate, gun-gate, and now panty-gate. It's not likely that the material will run out any time soon, so a stream of continuing revenue from the venture would be a certainty.

Just today in a truly bizarre story in the Marianas Variety,  Felipe Atalig accused Tinian Mayor Ramon M. Dela Cruz of buying edible panties with government funds.  Atalig filed an Open Government Act request to "inspect any and all documents, Office of the Public Auditor’s report, receipts, invoices, or credit card statement pertaining to edible or other panties purchase, or bar expenses paid by Mayor of Tinian Ramon M. Dela Cruz.”

The Variety reported:

Atalig alleged that the panties were bought when Dela Cruz was a board member of MPLC using indigenous/public funds and/or government credit card.

Atalig wants to see the documents within 10 days.

“I want to know where those panties are and who are using them,” he told Variety.
It's not likely that Atalig will find out where the panties are.  Obviously, the panties are gone because someone, probably DelaCruz, ate them.

It's beyond disturbing that someone would use government funds for such a purchase. It's also odd that Altalig knew that such a purchase was made. Was he with Dela Cruz when he bought the snack?

Atalig's previous OGA request revealed that other questionable purchases were made including beer for a softball game.

Earlier it was reported that Atalig questioned the fact that the mayor hired his brother a convicted felon, for $40,000 a year.

Meanwhile, the Governor's press secretary, Angel Demapan made a few of his own head scratching statements.

Demapan stated, "The Open Government Act is a valuable tool for all citizens so it is important, too, that its true intent is preserved and protected from the possible abuse of those who have made OGA requests a…‘hobby.’ ”
    A hobby? Does he mean that the government hides so much that intelligent people have to file Open Government Acts to get  information that should be accessible to the public? Is their persistence in pursuing disclosure and open government misinterpreted as a "hobby?"

    Demapan also suggested that the administration sees a pressing need to "fine tune" the Open Government Act.  It would be better to "fine tune" administrative policy to make documents more accessible.


    Anonymous said...

    I'd be wary of anything Atalig had to say. He's a sleazebag to the power of ten. Take a look at his criminal background. Yuck. He should be in jail himself.

    Now Dela Cruz might have misused funds. But the edible pantie charge is idiotic. Why didn't the reporter ask Atalig how he came to learn of such a charge? It's crude sensationalism.

    Atalig only fuels arguments for those who wish to revise the OGA.

    Double Yuck.

    Anonymous said...

    The article also notes that the panties allegedly were bought by funds from the Marianas Public Lands Corporation, which was dissolved in 1994.

    This is stale “news”, but typical of the tabloid sensationalism published by the Marianas Variety. It really calls into question even the supposedly serious stories they carry.

    Wendy said...

    Anonymous 1:50

    You are so right. I remember Felipe as one scary person. The word pervert comes to mind.

    Yes, anyone has a right to make an OGA request, but for edible panties? The cost should have been between $3-$5 according to a google search. Certainly an inappropriate purchase with government funds, but not the abuse of funds that has been exposed by Tina in her OGA requests. The whole episode is so bizarre and yes, yucky.

    There is a sharp contrast between Atalig's OGA requests and Tina's.

    Wendy said...

    Anonymous 2:34

    The Variety is the messenger. It is Atalig that filed the crazy OGA request. He knew the date, correct? The Variety is reporting the story, which appears to have been a story given to the paper by Atalig who was quoted. Even the headline alludes to the fact that the reporter even considers the actions/remarks by Atalig as "out there." The Variety should have reported this news, as weird as it is.

    Anonymous said...

    Ray is a far more principled person than felipe ever could dream of being

    Anonymous said...

    Felipe? I encountered him one time just came in Saipan 1990, and I said to myself "are these people all the same"?

    Anonymous said...

    This is to address a question raised by Captain Carl Brachear, in an earlier comment on this blog or in the Marianas Variety reader comments.

    The Open Government Act (OGA) is a CNMI law that applies to CNMI agencies, including federally funded ones.

    The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a federal law that applies to federal agencies, but not any state, commonwealth, or territorial agencies, officials, or employees.

    FOIA remains the subject of ongoing judicial interpretation all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, as recently as last Monday. See Milner v. Dept. of the Navy, No. 09-1163 (March 7, 2011), available at http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-1163.pdf.