Why should voters trust republicans on rooting out corruption, when federal evidence tells us they allowed it the last time they were in charge?

Two weeks ago the Republican Party of Guam released its Contract with Guam. The contract list promises reform to the present problems and for the posterity of the island and its relationship with the country. Among the more notable promises made is that if voters elect a majority of republican senators into the Guam Legislature, they will require the public disclosure of the “law enforcement disciplinary process.”

It is revealing, indeed, that the republicans can’t bring themselves to use the phrases “police corruption” and “police brutality,” but that is exactly what they are saying they will attack by requiring disclosure of the disciplinary process.

Last week another document was released. In federal court. It contains two lengthy and descriptive applications for wire tap warrants made in 2018 in the U.S. District Court of Hawaii about a drug trafficking-police and public corruption conspiracy that allegedly occurred between 2016 and 2018. Those were the final three years of the Eddie Calvo-Ray Tenorio administration. That was the last time republicans were in charge of the government.

The wire tap warrants contain hundreds of pages of evidence gathered by the FBI indicating that major meth traffickers were paying influential law enforcement officers to protect their drug dealing, to allow the importation of meth, and to go after their competitors. Among the evidence presented was the assertion that the dirty cops involved were connected right into Adelup.

Significant portions of these wire tap warrants describe a now-retired cop – a target of the overall federal investigation – who commanded the now-defunct Mandana Drug Task Force. According to the evidence presented by the FBI special agent who applied for the wire taps, Mandana was used as a tool by at least one major drug trafficker – (and the suspicion was that there were more) – to allow the free flow of the drug ice onto the streets.

Ray Tenorio

That task force was created by the republican governor at the time at the behest of that cop’s cousin, then-Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio. Mr. Tenorio went on to run for governor with the full endorsement of the Republican Party of Guam despite growing complaints of his corruption.

The Republican Party dismissed those complaints as noise and malicious political attacks that did not deserve investigation. What a wonderful irony that the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice disagreed with the republicans.

I suppose there is the possibility that FBI Special Agent Patrick Ernst’s sworn affidavit to the federal court in Honolulu is based on a lie. Or that in the hundreds of recordings of the target suspects of the federal corruption investigation, they all were just shooting the breeze and didn’t mean anything they said about bringing drugs in, or making sure Mandana went to raid someone else’s home, or coordinating drop spots for the exchange of cash. If you believe that, I’d like to sell you a rare Brown Tree Snake.

That leaves three more scenarios. Either the corruption happened right under their noses – and despite sounds of alarm that it was going on from people, including the author of this editorial – the republicans couldn’t smell it. Or they knew it was happening, or at least had a hunch it was going on, and they decided not to do anything about it. The worst of the possibilities is that one or more of these candidates actually were involved, but of course that would ultimately be sorted out by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney.

None of these scenarios speak well for the republicans.

Four years ago, two of the people referenced in these warrants – Ken Mantanona and JI Cruz – ran as Republican candidates for mayor of Inarajan and Senator, respectively. Both these men were given glowing endorsements by the Republican Party of Guam.

Juan Carlos Benitez

Their chairman at the time, Juan Carlos Benitez, defended these candidates – particularly Mr. Cruz. Mr. Benitez pointed out the former police chief’s record of fighting meth. Au contraire, says the FBI in court documents. Ironically, the former chairman and now National Committeeman for the Republican Party of Guam now is a federal employee under the U.S. Department of Defense. I always assumed the Hatch Act prevented federal employees from participating at that level in partisan politics. A discussion of course for another day, but part and parcel to the issue of whether republicans just bark about the law, but don’t care to follow it when it comes to them and the power they seek.

Where does the new chairman of the Republican Party of Guam – Shawn Gumataotao – stand on this matter? In fact, the answer to this question is ever-more critical because he’s also a republican candidate for senator.

Even the attorney general of Guam – Douglas Moylan – a crime hawk and fierce advocate of police work, has recognized the problem of police corruption and has said in no uncertain terms that if such a case reaches his desk, he will have it prosecuted with the full force and weight of his office. There is no room in the criminal justice system for bad cops, he has said, echoing the point many of us have made that the bad fruit spoils the bunch.

Stephen Ignacio

The democrats have their own explaining to do, what with the whole Red Jeep scandal and the highly questionable and non-transparent internal handlings of police corruption and brutality cases by the democrat-appointed police chief. That’s not to mention the nonchalant oversight of these problems by a democrat controlled legislature that would rather appease blue uniformed voters than to get to the bottom of allegations by people, such as elderly and cancer-stricken Veronica Patao, who said a young cop assaulted her at the Dededo precinct as other cops just stood by and laughed.

But the democrats have at least recognized the problem and called it by its proper nomenclature, unafraid to utter the phrase “police corruption” and “police brutality” in their letters and interviews. At the least, they have called for investigations into these matters, which is much more than can be said about the republicans when they ran things.

So why should we trust that if republicans retake control of the legislature they actually will do something this time around that they failed miserably to do the last time they were in power? When you look at what that FBI special agent describes about the drug trafficking-police corruption problem during the days of republican control and you add up all the verses of the song everyone but the republicans were singing, hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine between 2016 and 2018 entered the island WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND POSSIBLY THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR’s OFFICE.

Consider the current addiction and crime problem we have today. That didn’t happen overnight. Look at the ages of the misfits being magistrated. 24 years old. 31 years old. 28 years old. Subtract the number of years it’s been since the Calvo administration, when those hundreds of pounds came into the island WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND POSSIBLY THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR’s OFFICE.

What do you think happens when hundreds of additional pounds of meth make it into a small, closed island community? That’s right, hundreds or possibly thousands of children and young adults become new meth addicts.

If what this FBI agent has told the federal court is true, then not only do republicans have no ground to stand on while claiming they will do something about police corruption.

They also have zero credibility backing their promises to fight crime and drug addiction.

I have waited six long years for the proof behind my claims to surface. Now that it’s arrived, it’s time for the republicans to start answering these questions.

There is a glimmer of hope for the Republican Party of Guam, and it has more to do with its slate of candidates than the party leadership itself. None of the candidates for senator are mentioned in those warrants. Only two of them – Joanne Brown and Telo Taitague – were in positions of authority near the Ray Tenorio law enforcement apparatus during the Calvo administration. Most of the candidates are new and were not even involved with the Republican Party when this conspiracy was happening. I take comfort in all these points, which is why I am willing to give each of them due consideration in the ballot box in the General Election. But what it might come down to is this: even if I trust some of them individually, can I trust them as a collective? Will they take their queues from the party bosses and the special interests that have screwed us in the past?

Republicans identify themselves as the pro-life party, and the party that advocates the rights of the individual against the power of the government. There is nothing pro-life about the destruction of life from police brutality and the extrajudicial enforcement of law. There is nothing American about abusing the arrest powers of the government to attack people the officials do not like.

As a voter, it is this type of corruption – police corruption – that weighs most heavily on my conscience. And it is because it is the worst type of corruption, by leaps and bounds. It is the kind of corruption that deprives people of life, liberty, and property without due process of law. Nothing could be further from American citizenship and Christianity than that.


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