Barnett appoints committee that will investigate the Progressive Democrats of Guam’s publicized forged document

Sens. Chris Barnett, Tom Fisher, Dwayne San Nicolas, Sabina Perez, and Frank Blas, Jr. now form the Special Investigation Committee that will publicly investigate the forgery of an official legislative document widely disseminated by an Adelup employee.

[RETRACTION OF INFORMATION: Readers, I beg your pardon. In the original version of this story, I wrote that Sen. Dwayne San Nicolas voted against Resolution No. 67-37. That is false. I have since edited the story to reflect otherwise.]

Mr. Barnett, as the chairman of the legislative Rules Committee, made the appointments Tuesday. The formation of the committee was authorized by Resolution No. 67-37, which was opposed by the Adelup Six. Those comprise the six senators who continuously side with Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero.

According to the testimony of several other senators, Adelup workers, including Ms. Leon Guerrero herself, vehemently lobbied the legislature through private phone calls to defeat the resolution authorizing the investigation.

The scandal started in late March, when senators began receiving viral messages in the middle of session and while Adelup was trying to force senators to pass its 22 percent pay raise authorization for members of the government’s General Pay Plan. The messages included what appeared to be an official legislative document of a proposed amendment to the pay raise authorization bill that purported to revoke previous pay raises for teachers. The forged document was made to appear as though Sen. Chris Duenas had authored the fake amendment.

The document was circulated widely by Julian Janssen, an Adelup employee at the Governor’s Office Bureau of Statistics and Plans, who heads the fringe group Progressive Democrats of Guam.

Mr. Duenas immediately took the forgery to the Guam Police Department and filed a criminal complaint, alleging Mr. Janssen and his Progressive Democrats of Guam circulated and may have created the forgery.

The criminally-referred Janssen denied he created the document, and alleged the document came from within the legislature, though he did not name his source.

Mr. Barnett, whose Rules Committee manages the legislature and its online servers, said his staff investigated the matter and found that no such document was generated within or sent from the legislature’s servers.

“These accusations should be addressed publicly via the Guam Legislature’s live streamed television channel and online platforms owned by the Guam Legislature to clear the name of those affected by the circulation of this fraudulent document,” Resolution No. 67-37 states.  “[T]hose who are sharing [the fraudulent document] as well as positing it online are circulating a lie.”

“It is the duty and responsibility of all members of the 37th Guam Legislature to hold any and everyone associated and responsible for the creation and dissemination of fraudulent documents accountable,” the resolution further states.

But not every senator agreed with that duty.

Speaker Therese Terlaje, Vice Speaker Tina Muna Barnes, and Sens. William Parkinson, Roy Quinata, Amanda Shelton, Joe San Agustin, and Telo Taitague voted against the resolution.

Ms. Taitague explained her vote was not against the merits of the resolution, as she was a co-sponsor and did want it to pass. However, the resolution was not part of the legislature’s notice of its session, and Ms. Taitague preferred to err on the side of transparency.

After the vote, Sen. Fisher discovered a link between the Progressive Democrats of Guam and Sen. Parkinson, who was most vocal against passing the resolution. According to the Progressive Democrats of Guam’s own literature, and several posts during the 2022 election campaign, Mr. Parkinson is an officer of the organization.

Mr. Fisher filed an ethics complaint against Mr. Parkinson, alleging the senator should recused himself from voting on the resolution, or have at least disclosed his alleged conflict of interest.

Mr. Parkinson publicly responded that though he was an officer of the group, he no longer is affiliated with them.

Kandit asked Guam Police Department spokeswoman Berlyn Savella a number of questions related to the criminal investigation into the forgery. As of the publication of this story, Ms. Savella has not been able to provide answers.

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