Quitugua paid allowances at twice his annual salary

Justo Quitugua

The Commonwealth’s taxpayers forked out $111,390 to pay allowances to former Sen. Justo Quitugua of Saipan. The amount – paid over the past two years, is nearly twice the salary he was paid as a senator.

Records disclosed to Kandit by the CNMI Department of Finance show Mr. Quitugua drew down thousands of dollars almost every month during the Twenty-second Commonwealth Legislature. That time frame includes allowances that began in January 2021 at $3,000 per month, then escalated to $5,000 per month (the maximum allowed by legislative rules) by July 2021. The taxpayers paid the former senator the maximum amount in allowances every month from then until December 2022.

There is no record of Mr. Quitugua’s expenditures from those public funds to prove whether he used the money for any public purpose.

These allowances were requested and paid despite escalating deficit spending in the Commonwealth government throughout the Torres administration.

The financial situation is so dire, according to newly-elected Gov. Arnold Palacios and Lt. Gov. David Apatang, that every agency head has been ordered to issue notices of termination to several  federally-funded employees by today. The notices begin a 60-day clock before the termination occurs.

According to the DOF records, the other two senators from Saipan during the last term – Vinnie Sablan and now-Senate President Edith Deleon Guerrero – did not draw down allowances.

This is the second in a multi-part series exposing the use of taxpayer money in the Twenty-second Commonwealth Legislature for allowances to members of the House and the Senate.


  • Mabel Doge Luhan

      01/27/2023 at 9:36 PM

    Why does my prize bergamasco lick his ballocks? For the same reason Justo takes $5K a month: because he can.

    Moreover, while the hound’s lower-body flexibility is out of our control, the rules allowing “legislators” $5K/month in untaxed bonus pay were made by us! Or by our duly chosen representatives.

    So how much can we really complain?

    Anyway, we can rest assured that CNMI Revenue and Taxation’s crack actuarial team runs statistical analyses to find anomalous returns, regularly cross-references declared income with known assets of those in the public employ, and conducts frequent lifestyle audits on the ground and forensic accounting audits in the books. CNMI Rev & Tax must have already started the felony prosecution of Si Justo for failing to declare $100K+ of personal income. J/K, CNMI REVENUE AND TAXATION HAS NEVER AUDITED ANYBODY! Which is why the CNMI plays host to fine businesses such as Bridge Capital, Chinese money launderers, Korean tourism magnates who live in low-income housing, and various cryptocurrency cults.

    It reminds me of when Martin Luther King urgently invited me to a pop-up izakaya on a tree-lined boulevard in Blloku. I opted for the omakase. When the hirsute Japanese-Croatian waiter brought out the first blowfish course, I explained to a nonplussed MLK only that “Life is what you make it!”

  • The CNMI legislature needs to curtail the Free Money option, and quick. Or to modify the qualifications so that the recipient has a damn good reason for asking. Accountability or no money for you, Bubba.

    The new administration and legislature must plug the leaks, which are numerous and ingrained. It’s way past due to stop the cash grab. I’m pretty sure they’re aware of this.

    So whadja do with all the cash, Justo?

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