Probe reveals alleged conspiracy between Castro & Arroyo to gaslight public during election

More text messages exposed during the interrogation of former Guam Sen. Wil Castro by an investigative joint committee of the CNMI House of Representatives reveal an alleged conspiracy between Castro and Bank of Saipan president John Arroyo, also from Guam.

Rumors abounded in the days between the November 8 general election, and the November 25 runoff election for governor that CNMI Republican Party vice chairman Shayne Villanueva was being paid through the Building Optimism and Opportunities for Stability Together (BOOST) program.

To quell the rumors, Mr. Arroyo publicly issued an unusual letter claiming Mr. Villanueva had not applied for BOOST funding. The letter did not mention whether Mr. Villanueva, or any company associated with him, was being paid through the BOOST program.

The Arroyo letter was used by Gov. Ralph Torres’s campaign to discredit his opponent, now Gov.-elect Arnold Palacios, who ended up defeating Torres by a landslide margin at the runoff election.

A joint investigative committee of the CNMI House of Representatives formed and began subpoenaing records and BOOST officials following reports the Torres administration was using the federally-funded program to bolster the governor’s reelection chances. The Bank of Saipan is the administrator of the program.

Governor’s chief of staff Wil Castro appeared in the House chamber today as commanded by subpoena to answer questions about his role as one of three members of a review panel that has thus far granted 241 businesses up to $250,000 a piece in funding. The Bank of Saipan was one of those businesses.

Among the records disclosed were text messages between Mr. Castro and Mr. Arroyo that confirm a plan by the two to craft and publicly release a letter claiming the rumors were false. Among other records disclosed by the committee today was a list containing the names of applicants, which contradicts the Arroyo claim. In that list are the businesses Roil Soil Clothing, Roil Soil Manufacturing, and Roil Soil Marketing. Mr. Villanueva, Castro finally admitted after stuttering through an intense probe by Rep. Edwin Propst, owns the three companies.

The applications totaled $712,600, and confirm that the information Mr. Arroyo publicly released was incorrect. Mr. Castro would not say whether Mr. Villanueva’s companies received all or any part of the funding requested.

Mr. Castro also admitted under oath that aside from the possibility of an award of grant funding to Mr. Villanueva’s companies, the GOP officer is being paid to market the BOOST program.


  • Mabel Doge Luhan

      12/17/2022 at 6:40 PM

    How many of these companies are not alter egos? Does applying for a grant as a corporation that’s not really a corporation constitute fraud?

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