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Ex-Labor chief’s trial begins

TWO of 11 government witnesses testified at the start of the bench trial of former Labor Secretary Edith Deleon Guerrero who was charged with misuse of a government vehicle.

Procurement and Supply Director Herman P. Sablan and an accountant of Marfega Trading Co., doing business as Islander Rent A Car, Efren Casamina testified on Wednesday. Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho is presiding over the bench trial.

Sablan verified the purchase orders and purchase requests to Islander Rent A Car for the monthly use of a vehicle by Deleon Guerrero under the CNMI Department of Labor-Workforce Investment Agency. The monthly cost was $1,000.

Assistant Attorney General Robby Glass Jr. presented to the court 32 POs and PRs from Dec 2017 to. Oct. 1, 2016. These were accepted as evidence by the court, and verified by the Procurement and Supply director.

With Glass at the prosecution table was Assistant AG Jonathan Wilberscheid. Deleon Guerrero was represented by Assistant Public Defenders Nancy Domisnki and Heather Zona.

Casamina, in his testimony, verified the car rental agreement with DOL-WIA with Deleon Guerrero as the authorized signatory.

As for the rental agreement presented to the court, Casamina said it was under the name of Deleon Guerrero, “care of WIA” in the amount of $1,000 per month.

Zona asked Casamina about the rental periods offered by the rental company.

The minimum is six hours, said Casamina, adding that customers can also rent a vehicle for a day or a week.

Zona asked who makes the decision on monthly car rental rates.

Casamina replied that the company manager does, adding that monthly charges are usually “cheaper.”

For government accounts, Casamina said: “We require a monthly charge because we need to collect every month to pay our loans.”

He said all of the rental agreements with the government  were for a month,  and none  exceeded 60 days.

He also said that other drivers of  a government agency were  authorized to drive the rented vehicles.

The trial continues today, Thursday.

Deleon Guerrero was cited for three violations related to driving an unmarked government vehicle with tinted windows in Oct. 2016. The three charges are punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or three days of imprisonment.

The prosecution stated that from Dec. 8, 2013 to Oct. 1, 2016, Deleon Guerrero also used a government vehicle that had tinting materials on the windows, that was not clearly marked as government property on both front doors, and did not bear government license plates.

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/104316-ex-labor-chief-s-trial-begins

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