March 28, 2012
While any department employee including the commissioner, police officers and corrections officers are required to attend a 40-hour training before being issued a gun, Mafnas was never trained. Captain Leon Guerrero told the Saipan Tribune that Mafnas ordered David Honsono to issue him a 9mm pistol as DPS commissioner and he already had a 9mm pistol issued to him as corrections secretary.
The Tribune reported:
“ [Mafnas] thinks that as the commissioner he's god,” Leon Guerrero said.Attorney General Weighs In
As of 1pm yesterday, Mafnas already turned in to Hosono the service firearm issued him as DPS commissioner, Capt. Leon Guerrero said, adding that Mafnas had already surrendered the other gun issued him as Corrections secretary.
A petition signed by 139 DPS employees called for the ouster of Mafnas.
The CNMI Attorney General Edward Buckingham, who has himself violated the law while serving under Governor Fitial, defended called for a joint CNMI DPS-FBI investigation of the ever-growing allegations against the commissioner.
AG Buckingham was one of eight individuals who testified for confirmation of the commissioner. The Marianas Variety reported:
“My testimony reflected the man that I have worked with for a number of years. I first worked with Ray Mafnas while he served as the senior policy advisor to the governor. In this capacity I found Mr. Mafnas to be a hard worker, a good thinker and someone who always looked for policies that served the best interests of the commonwealth,” Buckingham said."There have been circumstances where I, in my capacity as attorney general, have had to make decisions that cost me personally. I have always put my duty as AG first. You may choose to believe this or not." Definitely, not! The AG has put the governor's best interests and keeping his job before his duty as AG, which is to serve the people as the highest law official in the CNMI. This has been evident in election-gate, massage-gate, gun-gate and other controversial incidents where the AG stood with the Administration, defending unethical and/or illegal acts.
“The circumstances are different. There are certain allegations that have been made. These will be investigated and the facts will speak for themselves,” added Buckingham, referring to his objectivity in investigating Mafnas.
“We live on an island where we interact with one another. There have been circumstances where I, in my capacity as attorney general, have had to make decisions that cost me personally. I have always put my duty as AG first. You may choose to believe this or not. However, I sleep well at night because I know I am not perfect but I do my best. That’s all I can do,” Buckingham said.
Several questions were raised at the June 2011 Mafnas confirmation hearing concerning his qualifications and past incidents. Mafnas was quoted by the Tribune as defending himself against allegations:
Mafnas, in an interview with reporters, said he welcomes those who question his credibility and qualifications to meet with him so he could show them proof that he was honorably discharged from the Marines and that he was acquitted in a case involving assault of a teacher.With a reputation as a bully and no police or corrections experience, it was obvious that the governor appointed an unqualified person to the position who would do his bidding and cover-up when told to do so. So CNMI, so unfortunate for the general public. Mafnas was known for wearing military attire while acting as commissioner.
More Complaints from MVB
Employees of the CNMI Motor Vehicles Bureau have filed an EEOC complaint and a complaint to the CNMI Civil Services Commission.
The complaint includes the following statements:
“We just cannot continue to be target of a weekly ritual of fear, of being ridiculed for making mistakes, fear of going to work, fear of intimidation, unwarranted abusive and foul language, public ridicule and humiliation, and the bully attitude thrown at us by Commissioner Ramon C. Mafnas"The complaint also stated that Mafnas was abusive to customers were were not local. Just as he targeted Filipino security guards and a Korean dive instructor, the MVB employees stated, "We find that he is quick to harass customers who are not locals and for no reason at all.”
"His treatment has to stop, not only to the staff of BMV [and] myself but to the other silent victims who are afraid to report Commissioner Mafnas' intimidation and harassment. It is so sad that we tried to tolerate such a hostile working environment."
"We have tried to tolerate his crude and bully behavior but his weekly visitation for the sole purpose of harassing us is beyond what any person or government employee can tolerate.”
Perhaps the FBI should investigate his threat to shoot an innocent man and these other forms of harassment as racially motivated hate crimes.
It appears that Mafnas has staff in place to protect his interests. This too should be investigated. The Saipan Tribune reported:
On Monday morning, an Attorney General's investigator visited director Leon Guerrero at BMV and inquired about what is going on with DPS and the commissioner. The director related to the investigator what they had been experiencing with Mafnas.U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Should Investigate
Within 20 minutes after the investigator left her office, director Leon Guerrero said that Mafnas' secretary called and asked her and driver's license technician Guadalupe Repeki to meet with him.
Leon Guerrero said she refused to do so for fear of harassment.
It is clear that Mafnas not only threatened and bullied foreigners, but he illegally confiscated the driver licenses of 8-10 foreign workers according to Captain Pete Leon Guerrero. The licenses were not expired and it appears that these incidents were also the acts of a racist bully.
Leon Guerrero stated that the commissioner took the licenses from Filipinos and two Bangladeshis then gave them to his secretary who turned them over to Leon Guerrero. Leon Guerrero arranged for them to be returned to their owners.
At least one person had his license stolen by Mafnas for no apparent reason just last week. KSPN reports that the commissioner took a license from a Filipino heavy equipment operator who violated no law. The commissioner was in an unmarked vehicle and approached the man at lower base where he was night fishing with a companion. Mafnas asked to see his registration and driver's license. The commissioner then took his license. The Filipino filed a complaint for theft at DPS. Mafnas violated the law by stopping him in an unmarked vehicle and by stealing his driver's license.
Since the CNMI Department of Public Safety receives federal funding, those who illegally had their licenses taken by Mafnas can file complaints with the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General. Go to this site to file a complaint and read more here.