Former CNMI Governor Benigno Fitial Charged With Seven Criminal Acts

March 12, 2013

A penal summons has been issued for former Governor Benigno Fitial who is alleged to have been intricately involved in the conspiracy in which law enforcement officials shielded former Attorney General, now fugitive, Edward Buckingham from being served a summons in August 2012. Governor Eloy Inos signed papers to extradite Buckingham to face his criminal charges last month.

The summons calls for Fitial, who was impeached by the CNMI House last month, to appear in court the first Monday after receiving the summons. Superior Court Associate Judge David Wiseman stated that if the former governor fails to appear, an arrest warrant will be issued for him.

The Office of the Public Auditor filed the following charges against Fitial: committing theft of services (6CMC§303); conspiracy to obstruct justice by interference with service of process (6CMC§303); conspiracy to obstruct justice by interference with a law enforcement officer or witness (6CMC§303); theft of services (6CMC§1607(b)); misconduct in public office (6CMC§3202); obstructing justice by interference with a law enforcement officer or witness (6CMC§3302); and obstructing justice by interference with the service of process (6CMC§3303).

The 20-page affidavit in support for the penal summons revealed that the governor received a text message from former AG Buckingham and was in constant text contact with Ogumoro who was heading the thug squad that shielded Buckingham using government vehicles and equipment. From the Marianas Variety quoted the affidavit:
“Fitial agreed and conspired with others…to…obstruct justice and assisted Buckingham to evade and avoid receipt of [the] summons by providing his personal driver/bodyguard [Jermaine] Nekaifes, and [Ambrosio] Ogumoro to assist Buckingham in avoiding service of the summons.” 
Fitial also questioned the presence of DPS police officers at the Aquarius Hotel where Buckingham and his wife stayed prior to their Aug. 4, 2012 departure, and the officers’ assisting OPA in its attempt to serve Buckingham with the summons. 
“Fitial…gave instructions to [Detective Elias] Saralu, and [Police Officer Peter] Camacho not to investigate [Detective Alexander] Sakisat [who helped the Buckinghams transport their luggage from the hotel to the airport], and leave it as is,” the OPA affidavit stated. 
“Investigation further reveals that Fitial was in regular communication with Ogumoro during the course of the escort of Buckingham to the Saipan International Airport.” 
The escort service provided to the Buckingham couple, who rode in Nekaifes’s private vehicle, included a DPS unmarked vehicle, a human trafficking unit vehicle, a boating safety unit vehicle, cell phones and radios used to communicate and transfer information, and manpower/personnel during the course of the escort service for the Buckinghams. The cost of using these government-owned properties was over $250 but less than $20,000.
Some claim that Fitial is in San Diego, California where sources say he owns a home. Others say he is in the Philippines where his wife, Josie owns property. Unless he can be served the summons, he will not face charges.

This former governor cannot hide in the states or in the Philippines. He should return to the CNMI to face the charges.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, Wendy! He can not hide in the Philippines. When I see him there, I will definitely tell him GO HOME!

Anonymous said...

As you sow, so you reap. Time and tide wait for none. Every action has same and equal reaction.

Wendy Doromal said...

11:06

If Fitial is foolish enough to go to the Philippines, he could never hide and he could never live in peace there. There are literally thousands of former Filipino workers who were cheated, scammed, suffered contract violations, were forced into prostitution, were victims of false imprisonment, or suffered other disgusting injustices and indignities under this corrupt, heartless and arrogant tyrant that have not forgotten him and never will.

You are correct. If he is there, he could very well receive shouts of "Go home!" This would be the appropriate greeting for the man who shouted, "Go home!" to the nonresident workers as they picketed outside the Saipan House hearing.

Anonymous said...

I disagree Wendy that he can't live in PI from this statement

"If Fitial is foolish enough to go to the Philippines, he could never hide and he could never live in peace there."

PI is a place where the nobility rules. He has millions there himself, is a front man in a mall, his boss owns Cebu including resorts there, garments in Angeles, shipping, and communications. They have long hid illegal money in Josie's non-profit corporation there and she dines with Imelda type, Pi movie stars, and rich stay pretty untouchable there. He is now staying in Bridge Capitals penthouse which is on the top floor on top of Gloria's residence...as in the Gloria.

So saying he can't live there means someone doesn't know PI well.

Anonymous said...

Salamat for the tips. We'll start the search.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:14pm, you don't know Filipinos very well. People power originated in Phils. We have ousted 2 Presidents from their posts. Just recently, we have kicked butts of Supreme court judge and many more. All of these are world news, I don't know where you were during those times. Who is Fitial anyways? You have the nerve to mention the people he's with now, Gloria, SAITANs his boss, Bridge Capital and last but not the least Imelda. Same feathers flock together, huh!
Who told you he's untouchable!!! Nobody in the Phils. is untouchable. He could enjoy whatever he has there for a day or two, but mark my word, it will not be forever. We, Filipinos could be the most hospitable people on earth, we love democracy, we love peace but we are great fighters, too!

Anonymous said...

I just gave you his location People Power, go get him!

PS Thats the top floor above Gloria's 3 bed Makati condo as she has 2 primary domiciles.

Anonymous said...

"There are literally thousands of former Filipino workers who were cheated, scammed, suffered contract violations, were forced into prostitution, were victims of false imprisonment, or suffered other disgusting injustices and indignities under this corrupt, heartless and arrogant tyrant that have not forgotten him and never will."

And there continues to be millions of Filipinos who are cheated, insulted, beaten, murdered, violated - all at the hands of other Filipinos and their Government. Wendy, stop pretending that the PI is some kind of paradise - it's hell on earth for the majority of Filipinos. Fitial is among peers.

Wendy Doromal said...

4:40 I think I get your point.You are justifying the disgusting treatment of thousands of workers invited to the U.S. to fill jobs that U.S. citizens could not or would not fill because these nonresidents could also be treated unfairly in their own countries. How utterly sick.

If there is any pretense it is that the United States enforces laws for every person on U.S. soil. It is the pretense that under the U.S. flag all people will be protected and treated justly. It is the pretense that the U.S. upholds human rights. It is the pretense that The USDOJ will do their job when a corrupt governor misspends federal funds (ARRA contract, etc.) when federal laws are broken and when federal vehicles are used in an operation that violates laws and breaches security at an U.S. international airport. It is the pretense that nonresident workers will be treated as humans by the CNMI and U.S. governments.

Additionally, the Philippines is not hell on earth for the majority of Filipinos.

Anonymous said...

I am not justifying anything just pointing out facts. Fitial is a friend of the Philippine government and will be protected. As for Filipinos going after him because of unpaid wages well that just doesn't make any sense. Filipinos work all over the world and the CNMI is actually (was) a much better option then Saudi Arabia or the UAE. The WORST place in the world for a Filipino to work is the Philippines! That's why they do anything they can to leave to work. It's simple logic.

Anonymous said...

It is so easy to find out if he indeed is in the Phil.
The Phil. Immigrations computers are very up to date. Any satellite immigration office can input his personal data and find out in seconds, especially if he is traveling with his wife.
If so he will automatically be given a 1 yr visa upon entry (if he asked for it)if he hasn't gotten a permanent IR visa in the past through his wife which is good for 5 yrs.and allows for multiple entries.
I have no doubts that the Feds have checked this already. (if they were asked)

But the Tan families are periodically much in the news due to abuse and/or imprisonment of their house workers, among other criminal acts and have always in the past 'bought' themselves out of the problems after the initial expose'.
They have a habit over the years (among other things)of "buying" under aged house workers from impoverished provincial families and the "worker" is never heard from or money sent home unless one escapes.
Then a deal is made with the family and things are forgotten and cases dropped.(or lost)

Recently another Chinese drug member's (3) bought themselves out of jail for 150K PhP each for the guards and other prison officials.
(this is not uncommon)
Awhile back 15 people with prominent names that were arrested and convicted of drug related crimes were also "bought out of a conviction"

I do not know how strong a penal summons is compared to an arrest warrant and if it could be served in the Phil. (or US)issued from an outside US location.

BTW past president and now Papanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo has been under arrest for more than 1 year now and confined in a Military Hospital last time she was in the news.
Her case has not been brought to trial yet.
One of the charges has to do with election fraud.
Her husband is also in problems due to his selling of some "old Robinson Helicopters" he purchased and sold to the Phil Govt. as new.(among other criminal acts)
Many more of the Arroyo Admin.are also under indictment.

But since Fitial is "high profile"
I think that the Phil. Govt would assist in any request from the US especially since they are trying to get some (18) mothballed fighter planes from the US along with some more ships and other military equipment.

Anonymous said...


Anon 2:38pm

Don't ever litter on someone's else backyard. Go, pick up your trash before we throw it on your face!

PS Whatever citizenship you may have, prefer to be a GOOD citizen of this world. You have only one chance to live, be good and choose good people to be with. Good people will surely make you smart, help you grow maturely and live happily!

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:03 am
What facts are you pointing out here? You’re loss! Fitial is a friend of Phils? Who told you? Filipinos are not going after him because of unpaid wages. Filipinos looked up to him to clean up such mess. They looked up to him as someone who may be compassionate human being, someone who is truly a public servant. It makes sense to go to him then because he can do something to resolve it.
Go out of CNMI, visit Phils., Saudi, UAE then tell me what made you think CNMI was a better option than those countries? You’re pathetic idiot!

Anonymous said...

BTW, the last I knew the Phil. was not signed under the Hage act as far as concerning children.
I do not know about other provisions of the Hage that may involve the serving of a penal summons from another area.
I do remember the case of a NMI Lawyer that was involved in taking funds from one of the trusts he handled, that was apprehended in Panasinan. Phil. by the FBI and the NBI due to a warrant issued against him in the CNMI.
The only reason that he was apprehended and returned back to the CNMI was because he applied for a visa for his girl friend and his name showed up on the Feds screen.
He was also arrested under Phil. immigration laws and eventually deported as he had overstayed his Phil. entry permit.

Summons are mostly not served in the CNMI so what makes anybody think that this will be pursued outside of the CNMI? Especially in the Phil. if the case may be, if it can be served at all there.
But I would truly like to see it served if possible.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:36 am
A little learning is a dangerous thing. Do you read the newspaper every day? Do you know why Fitial resigned? Do you know what is going on in CNMI community? A law breaker must be punished in such a manner that will set an example- Nobody is above the law. Get a degree and start seeing things with a good vision.

Anonymous said...

I would bet the USCIS at the airport know where his flight went to. They probably were surprised at the departure gate too.

Anonymous said...

Wendy, off subject, please look at John Del Rosario's article in the Tribune about Obama's actions.
I know you are a supporter and I am not trying to stir up problems with your and mine and others opposing opinion, but this guy states it better than I and others.

Anonymous said...

4;30 pm,I wonder if what is your idea or what you think about "hell" that made you compare Phil. to hell, Why don't you ask some of your people here who have been to Phil. what the Phil. look like huh.

Anonymous said...

I live part time in the Phil. out of necessity and do not like the place on the whole.
But there are many very beautiful places to go and look at. It is rich in history.

Most places are very dirty and unsafe.
The people on the whole throw trash out of car windows, buses, tricycles and also dump their garbage off of the bridges into the rivers.
The toilets are fed directly into the rice fields, irrigation ditches and streams etc by the houses that border them.
Places that raise pigs most often than not have the pens built alongside of the rivers and streams so they can wash the pig waste directly into the streams.
There is nothing but dogs, chickens and kids running all around.
Dogs bark all night and all day in all but a few well manged Barangays and cities.
Parts of Manila have started to clean up it's area and are issuing littering citations.

The province people on the whole do not want any foreigners in their areas and business will outright not cater to anybody from outside. Mostly due to the language barrier.
Crime is very rampant all over and the cops do very little to curb it as they are mostly involved also.

The kids (and others)in all locations will look at anything to steal even when you are three feet away.
They will also surround you on the streets and try to pick your pockets or cut through you bag so they can steal your things.
Robberies on the buses and other public transportation are very common place.

Car jackings are rampant especially on the roads running from the airport and high tourist areas.
There will be a couple of SUV's that will be following and one will "bump" you and when you stop armed people will jump out and surround the vehicle and commandeer the the car with the occupants to another area to rob them and steal the vehicle.
Many time the people are also killed.

As far as trades people, there are very few that are capable of performing the services that they are selling.
The one that have worked as an OFW in other areas are the ones that usually provide goods and services in a knowledgeable, friendly manner.
The smart educated ones usually leave to work overseas.

Anyone you hire will trash or steal any tools that you may have in your shop or give them to use.
Their attitude is it is not theirs so no worry.
They will wait until they run out of materials before anything is said to get more and that will usually be after you question them why they are all laying down and not working.

You cannot trust most as they will only be around as long as you are of use to them or their family member. They will be gone once they figure you are no longer needed and will also be the first to come around when they need something.

Drug are rampant outside of the cities and the people just shun it off, the cops seldom do anything unless it is by the task force and Chinese are involved and seldom bust any of their own nationals.

many junk shops and tricycles along with teens are the biggest traffickers selling to schools. Little is hidden from sight.

I could write a book on all the reason not to go there to live or retire.
But a first stated there are many nice places to "visit' but pay someone to accompany you and not in a "standout" vehicle.
I first became involved with the Phil in the late 60's at Clark as we picked up planes from there for our operations based out of Thailand.
The reason many stay and retire there is that it is relativly cheap to live compared to the US and alos the US Govt. will deal with some of the banks for retirement and SS deposits.
The VA facilities are very good also.

Anonymous said...

9:52. Absolutely spot on. The PI for the most part (where people live) is full of garbage and very dirty. No wonder they all want to leave.

Anonymous said...

9:52 AM
Saipan and Guam....Same same but different.

Anonymous said...

In the Phil. A new wave of criminal activity has just come to light,this notification was put out jointly by the CID, NBI and PNP Friday.

"If you find any child crying on the road showing an address & asked U to take him to that address, take him to the police station, don't take him to that address. It's a new way of gang to rape women/teenage girls,
Please forward to all female or boys with sisters/GF"

This is just one more way to take advantage of the many children and involuntarily involve them in criminal activities.
They sure teach them young there.

the guardian said...

9:52 gave the most current and accurate view of PI that I have read lately, and I like visiting the Philippines. I have been in PI about 70 time since 1983 and have relatives there.

There are many historic sights, wonderful people, and natural beauty, but sadly, it appears that poverty is winning. The wealthy rule and there are few answers for political murders and assinations, and 25% of the people are in 1 of 3 degrees of starvation, according to the UN, who has repeatedly warned the government by letter over the unanswred deaths.

People pile up to live in cardboard shacks along the river banks knowing they flood multiple times yearly, and the children lining the streets of Manila is a sad thing to witness.

We can write a beautiful or sad story about any place. We can desrcibe the Ozark mountains in Missouri or the battle ground in E St Louis, so some is perspective, but the plight of Filipino's in their homeland is black and white, and worsening.

Having a GDP dependent on remittances ensures perpetual poverty as hopeless parents have 10kids so one or two can get a job abroad.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed how many people here stereotype not just the place but the people. Where are the solutions? Government corruption is one of the main problems for the poverty. Here is a good article: http://www.poverties.org/poverty-in-the-philippines.html

Anonymous said...

Open your eyes and look at your fellow chamorros, dumb idiot! The contract workers could find job but your fellas couldn't. Why? Most of your people looks dirty and stinks on an interview, failed! Training, no show tomorrow! Hired, only one week of their lives is all they could offer. After A paycheck, no show! There's foodstamp anyway. If they last in a job, they must be stealing! Hahahahaha! Lazy people! How heavy are you?!

Anonymous said...

Really?!!! Why go to PI for your health problems? Because your CHC is slaughter house, hahaha!

Anonymous said...

In saipan, if somebody give you candies, don't go with him. It might be your father or relatives who will rape you.