March 22, 2012
The last thing that the CNMI needs is a racist and violent police commissioner. While people are debating the Senate's rejection of the governor's appointees this week, they may also want to question why Ramon C. Mafnas was ever confirmed to lead the DPS.
The Saipan Tribune reported that the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety has been accused of "threatening to arrest, handcuff, and shoot two security guards and a dive instructor in separate incidents in Marpi."
The victims filed complaints with the F.B.I. and the DPS in February 2012. One security guard was involved in two incidents with Mafnas. The first incident took place at Bird Island in May 2011, ten months ago. The second incident took place at the grotto in September 2011. A second security guard experienced an incident at Suicide Cliff.
Reportedly two investigators, Patrick Sablan and Jeffrey Norita are investigating the case. The governor's Angel claimed that he was not aware of the incidents. Yesterday the Tribune broke the story without a bi-line. (Perhaps the reporter fears retaliation from Mafnas?)
There were two incidents that one guard reported. The first incident took place at Bird Island. The Tribune reported:
The driver of the vehicle, whose uniform's nametag had the name Mafnas, approached the security guard at his work post. At the time, Mafnas was with several officers.Heaven forbid a guard be friendly to tourists!
As the guard was greeting the tourists at the area, Mafnas approached him and asked him if he was doing his job. Mafnas allegedly told the guard to stop greeting the tourist because he is not a police officer and that this is not the Philippines, Bangladesh, or Nepal.
Mafnas told the guard that his job is to log down all license plates of vehicles that arrive at Bird Island lookout and to stay only in the guardhouse.
As the guard tried to explain his duties and assignment, the DPS commissioner allegedly told him to keep quiet and that he does not need his explanation.
The second incident took place in September 2011. The same guard was posted at the Gotto. Mafnas showed up and asked the guard about a car in the parking lot that was owned by a Korean dive instructor. The Saipan Tribune reported:
When the Korean arrived after a few minutes, Mafnas approached and inquired about his license plate sticker. The Korean explained that someone stole his sticker, but Mafnas told him to be quiet.
Mafnas introduced himself to the Korean as the DPS commissioner and that he (Korean) does not respect him. Mafnas allegedly showed the Korean a handcuff and asked him if he wants to be arrested.
The commissioner also ordered the Korean to show him his driver's license and vehicle registration. The Korean instructed one of his friends to bring the documents from inside the vehicle's glove compartment.
The diving instructor was surprised when Mafnas allegedly approached and shouted, “What you think, I'm playing around?” The commissioner again allegedly took out the handcuff and asked the Korean if he wants to be arrested.
The Korean begged Mafnas not to arrest him and promised that he will put the sticker on the license plate. The diving instructor later learned from the guard that it was Mafnas, the DPS commissioner.
That same day, the Korean called the FBI and spoke to a special agent, who told the Korean he would call Mafnas to resolve the matter. The Korean asked the special agent not to call Mafnas and just forget the incident.Really? Forget the incident? Let the Commissioner of DPS bully and threaten the public? Bullies need to be stopped or they continue to bully. Like the elected official who threatened a community member not to f ___with his bill or he'd f___ him up? That too was reported to the FBI. Like elected leaders who threaten to withhold funds from other islands because they didn't get their way? No one should "forget" incidents of bullying or abuse of power. All incidents should be reported to authorities and made public. How many cases that were not reported to the press would be pursued by the police or other officials? Bullies need to be exposed and stopped.
The guard asked him for his name and Mafnas replied that he is the DPS commissioner.Why didn't the guard report this immediately to the DPS and press? Because a climate of fear exists in the CNMI. It existed when I lived there and it continues today. Corrupt, bullying officials, threatening employers and a few outspoken racist residents have frightened nonresidents into thinking that they will lose their jobs or worse if they report unpaid wages or abuses. Such was the case with the second guard. The Saipan Tribune reported:
Mafnas told the guard to move his car that was parked at the southeast portion of Suicide Cliff. Mafnas also asked the guard for his driver's license. As the guard was trying to explain why he parked his car in the parking area, the commissioner kept telling him to shut up and be quiet.
Mafnas allegedly warned the guard to move his car or he would arrest him, handcuff him, then shoot him. The commissioner allegedly continued telling the guard if he wants to be arrested or shot.
The guard told the detectives investigating the complaint that he was afraid so he did not file a formal complaint with DPS for fear of retaliation. The guard told the detectives he was very disturbed by Mafnas and scared for his life.
Rise up and demand that your civil rights be enforced or next time it may be you on the bad side of Mafnas or another CNMI bully; next time he may pull the trigger. Stop this injustice now!
Ferdie de la Torre from the Saipan Tribune reports that the newspapers received a "complaint from a motorist who also narrated his “encounter” with Mafnas. Saipan Tribune opted not to write the allegations in the meantime until Mafnas has stated his side."
Mafnas claims that the security guards made false accusations. I doubt that these guards would make up allegations against the commissioner. What would they have to gain?
KSPN News also covered this story. The reporters exposed that Mafnas personally interviewed witnesses in the Romero homicide case and refused to release the information to investigators.
The Marianas Variety reports that at least 80% of the CNMI Department of Public Safety (DPS) personnel have signed a petition to remove Commissioner Ramon C. Mafnas from office "due to his bad attitude and abusive behavior."
Not only did he rage at security guards posted at CNMI tourists sites and a dive instructor, but according to the Marianas Variety he also:
- accused firefighters of setting recent fire to collect overtime
- shouted at and threatened to terminate Bureau of Motor Vehicle employees
- was accused of tampering with a witness in the Romero case