Major Fail: DPS and OAG

July 26, 2011

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the CNMI Department of Public Safety and the Office of the Attorney General are bungling entities that are often ethically challenged and incapable of functioning to meet minimal acceptable standards. It may take a judge to wake up the people to the seriousness of the problem.

Associate Judge David Wiseman of the CNMI Superior Court slammed both the DPS and AGO for "failing to coordinate and cooperate in prosecuting cases." The Saipan Tribune quotes the judge:
“It is a complete waste of government resources and expense to have suspect criminals arrested and placed in a judicial prosecutorial process, only to have it all fall apart as a result of an absence of rigid standards of coordination and cooperation to be adhered to with respect to the investigations of DPS and the Criminal Division of the Attorney General's Office,” Wiseman said.
Wiseman was referring to the government's dismissal of the case involving Fu Zu Lin who was arrested in October 2010 for trafficking ice. Lin was peddling the drug at the Tinian Dynasty where he was employed. He was nabbed in a sting set up the CNMI Drug Task Force and the DPS Criminal Investigation Bureau, the very agency that blew the case.

According to the Tribune the detective handling the case left the island and the agencies could not obtain his files and report on the case.  Detective Sean White was handling the case and the prosecutor was AAG Benjamin Peterson. Isn't it customary that when employees leave their job they hand over the files and cases that they were working on and brief the person who is taking over the case/s?

Wiseman noted that this was not the only case that was dismissed for similar reasons and warned them to get their acts together.

In March 2011 the U.S. District Court of the NMI extended time for the Office of the Attorney General to respond in a police brutality case against Jesse Reyes Babauta.

Earlier in October 2010 DPS officers botched a drug bust in Saipan where police officer Jesse Dubrall brutally beat an innocent Chinese man who was incorrectly identified as the drug dealer. That officer left the DPS days later and was reportedly working at the Office of the Public Auditor. No charges were filed by CNMI or federal law enforcement officials. Rumor has it that the Chinese barber and his wife reportedly left the island.

How many assault, rape and theft cases against foreign employees in the CNMI were never prosecuted? I would guess thousands. What criminal employer that stole wages from an employee or employees was ever prosecuted?

Even church leaders are "disappointed" with DPS as was reported today in the Marianas Variety. Churches have been burglarized over the years and DPS has failed to nab the offenders or recover stolen items.

Furthermore, an astounding number of CNMI law enforcement officials have been charged with criminal violations, many of them violent.  The following is a list of some Department of Public Safety and Department of Corrections officials who have been arrested over the last 10 or so years:
There's more. In February 2010 Li Gui Xiang alleges she was assaulted by police officers on Saipan. In May 2007, employees of the Top Fashion garment factory in Tanapag alleged police brutality when during a sit down protest police officers pepper sprayed and kicked some of the protesters. (The brutality was captured and posted on You tube.) In October 2005 Dan Gao Bright, a tour agency operator was pulled over while driving, allegedly assaulted by Police Officer John C. Sablan and falsely imprisoned for 8 hours. In August 2005 a Chinese store owner alleged police brutality.  In August 2003 then DPS commissioner Edward Camacho and an unnamed policeman were sued by Zhang Qisen who was allegedly assaulted and falsely detained. In August 2002 another Chinese victim, Kwon Woo Kim, sued DPS officer Ralph Mendiola Torres for false arrest, assault and battery and other civil rights violations.

The DPS remains ineffective. Last month the commissioner announced that DPS personnel will be subjected to random drug testing because there are officials who abuse drugs. This week DPS sexual offender registry coordinator Officer Jason Tarkong stated that the CNMI Legislature's failure to pass a new sexual offender law will mean the loss of $370,000 in federal funds.

The Office of the Attorney General is no better. Over the two years attorneys have left the OAG in droves, 14 have left since Buckingham took office.  Maybe it is time for AG Buckingham to step down. Perhaps he is so preoccupied defending himself, the governor and the Administration's political allies against ethics charges that he doesn't have time to do his job.


Anonymous said...

We can't expect law and order when the enforcers are major law breakers. What tourist would come here? Don't you think they read about a place before they go to it? Tourists have been major victims of crime in the last year too. Word spreads. We are officially a hell-hole.

Anonymous said...

This list (and other past info) might be interesting to the New York Times if it could be sent to them.

Anonymous said...

That is quite a list in DPS alone.
Almost every other Gov Dept has similar lists of offenders that get re-hired and promoted.

Anonymous said...

It’s quite interesting how the Marianas Variety editor slavishly follows the lead of Attorney General Edward T. Buckingham III in using the acronym “AGO” for his office rather than the “OAG” abbreviation of its legal name, Office of the Attorney General. See 1 CMC § 2151.

Zaldy Dandan does not pay Ed such absolute deference in most other spheres, making this all the more glaring.

Marianas Variety Censorship said...

Dear Wendy,

I want to repeat my public appreciation of the fairness and even-handedness with which you moderate your blog. As long as comments are polite and civil (and not excessively repetitive) you refrain from censoring opposing viewpoints submitted to your blog. That is highly admirable.

In sharp contrast is the treatment of a comment I submitted today to the Marianas Variety.


As a counter-example, our Attorney General, the Honorable Edward T. Buckingham III, arrogantly and slavishly persists in using the acronym “AGO” for his office rather than the “OAG” abbreviation of its legal name, Office of the Attorney General. See 1 CMC 2151. Surprisingly, he garners a great deal of support in doing so from closet sympathizers within the Fourth Estate. There is little difference between judicial activism and surreptitious editorial advocacy. If you don’t like the law, work to change it. Don’t ignore it.

Will Judge Manglona follow the wide, lazy, result-oriented path Ed has blazed, or the narrow trail of strict adherence to the rule of law? I predict the latter.


The “OAG” is the abbreviation of its legal name, Office of the Attorney General. See 1 CMC 2151. If you don’t like the law, work to change it. Don’t ignore it.

Will Judge Manglona follow the wide, lazy, result-oriented path the AG has blazed, or the narrow trail of strict adherence to the rule of law? I predict the latter.


This is a substantial alteration in the meaning of the posted comment. One can see that the Marianas Variety has a very “thin skin” when it comes to criticism of its own activities. So much so, that it needs to hide the degree with which it adopts and enables the practices, attitudes, and behaviors of AG Buckingham.

It would appear that editor Zaldy Dandan can be just as sneaky and dishonest as some of the members of the Babauta and Fitial administrations he has made a career of criticising for more than a decade.

Wendy Doromal said...

Anonymous 12:55

I don't understand why the comment would be edited at all. I don't always agree with Zaldy, but I don't see him as sneaky or dishonest. Ask him why the comment was edited. Maybe it wasn't him who did it?