Pacific Daily News

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Apr. 7) - It is often alleged that corruption runs rampant throughout the government of Guam, and there have been several cases involving high-level government officials that prove the perception to be true.

One of those cases was the improper and illegal use of government credit cards by the two top officials at the Guam Mass Transit Authority.

Former General Manager Tony Martinez pleaded guilty to charging personal expenses to a GovGuam credit card last year and was sentenced to six months imprisonment. Earlier this month, the former deputy general manager, Antonio "Tony" Diaz, was found guilty in court of official misconduct and theft for charging personal expenses to a government credit card, and was sentenced to five years imprisonment.

One of the reasons that the government was able to successfully prosecute Diaz is that a former employee of the agency did the right thing.

Jane B. Flores was an accountant for Guam Mass Transit. In court, she testified that she asked Diaz in July 2000 to pay for his personal credit card charges, and did so again early in 2001. Her "reward" for doing her job, and trying to ensure that the right thing was done, was to be transferred out of the agency.

She could have just kept her mouth shut and let the matter slide. Instead, she spoke up twice and rocked the boat, knowing what that could mean for her career in GovGuam.

We commend Flores for her commitment and dedication to doing the right thing. We thank her for doing her best to protect taxpayer money, and for following through with the situation with her court testimony.

Flores is a role model, not only for government employees, but for the entire community.

If you know of instances of corruption and wrongdoing within the government, don't let it slide. Speak up; inform the authorities. Do the right thing.

April 8, 2005

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