Murder Remains Unsolved as Emie is Buried in the Philippines

February 19, 2012

A memorial service at Kristo Rai Church was held for Godfather's bartender  Emie Romero on Friday.

Two weeks after her brutal murder, Emie's body was flown home to her family's province in Bulacan, Philippines. Her brother Eduardo and sister Estrella flew with her body, which will be buried today.

The officiating priest at Friday's mass, Father Noynoy Recaida, stated that her death "Should not go in vain" and called for justice, according to the Marianas Variety. From the Variety:
Recaido called on the community “to help each other to fight for justice and to look for the real truth” in Romero’s homicide case.

Recaido asked the community not to remain silent as “we seek for justice, let’s pray that hope in us prevail.”

“Let us stand firm, encourage everyone out of the darkness toward the light offered by Jesus,” Recaido said.

“Be vigilant. Be attentive. Be watchful. Be careful,” he went on to say.

“We are one family, one community in seeking justice for our dear sister,” Recaido said.
Acting Governor Eloy Inos was among those who joined family and friends in attending the service. He said that the FBI and DPS were working together to "bring justice to Romero and her family."

Friends and relatives of Emie Romero are hoping that her killer will be brought to justice soon.  Saipan is a tiny island and it would seem that it would be easier to apprehend a murderer, but it has been two weeks since February 5th when the victim made the 911 call.

Friends and residents expressed concern that there is a murder and a rapist on the loose. The Marianas Variety quoted a government employee as saying:
Given the amount of video evidence, a witness testimony and a four-minute 911 call, it is unbelievable that there has been no arrest. The longer this case goes on unsolved, the lesser the probability of it being ever solved, especially with our local DPS,” a government employee said.

“They can’t even solve previous cases that involved people from here, how much more for those alien people?
While some call the CNMI DPS ineffective and corrupt, others expressed anger that more information was not being released to the public on the progress being made in this case. The DPS failed to release news of the rape of a club worker that took place a week before Emie's death. Some wonder if there is a connection between the cases and others have said maybe Emie would have been more watchful if the news of a rapist in the same area was released to warn the public. The news of the rape was released a week after the information was published on this site and after Emie's death.

While in any investigation vital information cannot be disclosed if it would jeopardize solving the case, still some say that the behavior and secrecy of DPS is not unlike the secrecy and cover ups that dominate the entire Fitial Administration. The arrogant and illegal refusal to disclose public information even after Open Government Requests are made has been common place. Public distrust has increased since it as disclosed that the Department of Public Safety Commissioner Ramon Mafnas purposely has excluded reporters from public press conferences.

On February 13, 2012 Mafnas held a press conference regarding the ongoing investigation of murdered foreign worker Emie Romero. He invited only Saipan Tribune and KSPN reporters saying he did not want the Vairety's police beat reporter Andrew DeGuzman to attend. The Tribune stated:
Mafnas said he wants instead Variety's reporters Emmanuel T. Erediano and Tammy Doty. Erediano and Doty did not come.
On February 16th Mafnas again held a press conference regarding the murder investigation. This time he reportedly invited only KSPN Tina Sablan and the Marianas Variety reporter Tammy Doty.

The Tribune reported:
After learning about the then ongoing press conference, Saipan Tribune called Police Officer Jason Tarkong to ask why this reporter was not informed about the press conference.

Tarkong said he's not aware of the press conference as Mafnas did not invite even him.

Tarkong is coordinator for NMI Crime Stoppers Program. Mafnas has been assigning him to do press releases for DPS.
The reporter referred to as "this reporter" is veteran Tribune reporter, Ferdie de la Torre.

Last November Mafnas reportedly also held another exclusive press conference. Acting governor Eloy Inos reportedly stated that he would look into the situation adding that press conferences are open to everyone.

A public criminal offender registry has been proposed by Senator Jovita Taimano. The proposed bill reads, "The registration is intended to aid law enforcement agencies in timely apprehending suspected repeat offenders." I am not sure what good such a registry would do since law enforcement agencies should already have this information. It is interesting though, especially since there is also a proposal to expunge the records of criminals. Several convicted felons hold high positions in the Fital Administration, including in DPS.

Some Saipan news outlets have reported that the police "are closing in on" suspects in both the rape and murder cases. Hopefully, both criminals will be apprehended soon to help restore peace to the community and to bring justice to the victims.

Over $22,000 in reward money is being offered to the person/s who come forth with information that leads to an arrest of the murderer. Please contact law enforcement agencies to report any information about the murder of Emerita "Emie" Romero:

Crime Stoppers and DPS: Call 991, (670) 664-9001 or (670) 234-7272.

F.B.I.: Call (670) 322-6934

You can donate to a fund created to support Emie's children. Donations will be accepted at Godfather's Bar and you can donate online HERE.


Anonymous said...

Police can not even solve a robbery without a tip, how can you expect them to solve a bigger crime? They don't even know how to take finger prints, or to look for evidence. Our office was burglarized (not only once), the investigator did not look around for any clues. It was me who found the tool used in burglarizing, gave it to them. Well nothing happened. This was not even in Wendy's report of the crimes she listed.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, this crime will never be solved. The CNMI allows child predators to roam free, Russian mafia to open businesses and the Chinese Triads to smuggle human beings from China. Nearly every single cop is on the take. How can you blame them? With a starting salary of only $16,000.00 per year and cost skyrocketing it's no wonder they are all corrupt and burned out. Just wait until handguns are legal. It will be like the wild west in the streets. Murder, rape and even kidnappings will be frequent. When you see a masked man rob a poker arcade you can bet a bag of pugua that he's a cop.

Wendy Doromal said...

5:08 You said, "Nearly every single cop is on the take. How can you blame them? With a starting salary of only $16,000.00 per year and cost skyrocketing it's no wonder they are all corrupt and burned out. " Look, everyone knows the salary when they accept a position. To solve cases is their job. I do not excuse a low salary for being "on the take." Many people spend hours of time trying to promote justice and human rights without pay. I guess it depends on how much you value life and how you want to spend your own. This case should be solved.

Anonymous said...

I agree that this case "should be solved" but, unfortunately I don't hold out much hope in that happening.(unless the FBI does it)
The people that go into DPS are there because of their name (like politics)not because they care. They are "trained" by non qualified people and passed because of their name only.
The majority of theses so called cops could not even pass the required physical.(nor psychological evaluation)
The majority could not qualify for any other police dept elsewhere, among other things, most cannot read and write.
I have had many friends (14 total)that left to the US mainland over the years to go into various police departments.
From the ones that I had received feedback from, they had expressed amazement at the training they had to go through, both mental and physical, even the firearms training qualification.
Some also was not able to pass other states police training.
To get any advancement they had to continue education in law enforcement fields and take test to qualify to advance.
At a time when I had to work with these DPS, I observed daily the difficulty of many in various areas such as writing a simple reports and the hours it took them to write out a simple report (if done at all)even when there was just a form to fill out.
It is too bad that many of these so called reports could not be posted on line for all to see.
Most do not have any idea of the basic elementary aspects of police work.
Only they follow many looking for a do nothing position with the Govt and eventually high paid retirement.
Retirement will be lost soon so that in itself may put another light on things such as work ethics and Govt employment.
But I do hope that this case will be solved and am very curious as to the identity of the suspect.
If caught maybe this will finally wake up the Judges, especially if this person is a repeat offender.

g00$e said...

It appears that some of the commenters here (and in local CNMI papers) are attempting to hold DPS to unrealistic standards. This is probably because they don't understand that DPS does not exist solely to ensure the equitable enforcement of CNMI law across the full spectrum of CNMI society.

While this is a large part of their reason for existence the other, equally important part is to ensure that certain segments of CNMI society are effectively shielded from the law, and are able to live in a world quite different from the one we inhabit. The current DPS Commissioner has actually made this his department's primary role.

In fact, within its limited milieu DPS is quite skilled and efficient at solving criminal cases, however they are just as skilled at covering them up. Unfortunately the rest of the CNMI criminal justice system shares DPS's dual purpose design and function, and the Attorney General and Judiciary often adhere to the same priorties within their agencies that Ray Mafnas does in his.

Anonymous said...

Mafnas is in the Phillipines partying with Joe Torres. He left just after Emie and is planning to meet with other government officials (possibly the governor) later this week or early next week.

Anonymous said...

anon 4:12 pm.

You can defend DPS for all you want, but action speaks louder than words. we want results not hyphotesis, intiendes?

Unrealistic standards? what segment of the society are you talking about? the executive branch only? the guv? duh!DPS I believe stands for DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY. That is the segment of the society DPS needs to serve. EXPLAIN!!!we want the truth. we want justice. All the DPS do is the issuance of citation, traffic violation. Hilarious!

Go on and enjoy spinning the truth. I want to compare it to a rocking chair, continuously moving but going nowhere. That sir is the Police forces in the CNMI.

Anonymous said...


My post is erroneously addressed to 4:12 anon but it is actually intended for anon 12:32 pm. My apologies, 4:12 pm.

g00$e said...

Anony 9:14 and 9:16

It's difficult to see how anyone could possibly misperceive my post as defending DPS.

Perhaps a deep breath and read it again?