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By Gina Tabonares

HAGATNA, Guam (Marianas Variety, Feb. 1) – The Guam International Airport Authority yesterday refuted allegations that there was a cover-up in the theft case involving the son of the airport’s deputy general manager, saying that there was an investigation conducted and a police report was forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office.

But such a police report has yet to be found, and apparently did not reach the Attorney General’s Office.

During a press conference in his office, Jess Q. Torres, general manager of Guam International Airport Authority, said there was no cover-up on the theft case involving Charles Pangelinan, the son of Edith Pangelinan, the airport deputy general manager.

While admitting that there was indeed a theft case, Torres explained that there was no arrest made upon the advice of the Attorney General’s Office.

"On the contrary, the Attorney General’s Office advised Guam International Airport Authority against taking any further action against Charles Pangelinan relating to the incident," the Airport Authority said in a press statement.

Torres said that an airport police officer contacted Assistant Attorney General Lewis Littlepage, who reportedly said that the case sounded like a civil complaint.

Torres said in fact, there was a police report numbered 05-9596 submitted to the Attorney General’s Office.

The said police report, which Torres failed to show to members of the media, is now being searched, and apparently did not reach the Attorney General’s Office.

Attorney General Douglas Moylan told Variety that the Attorney General’s Office doesn’t have the said document, as it did not show in our system of records.

Moylan also refuted the airport’s statement that his office advised airport police not to pursue the case.

"Attorney Littlepage will never do such action. He only told airport investigators that they needed more evidence but it doesn’t mean that he discouraged them to prosecute the case," Moylan said.

Moylan also denied Torres’ claim that the Attorney General’s Office was aware of the theft case as early as May 2005. He also said that the information they got was from an anonymous caller who informed him of the alleged cover-up.

"I got the call two weeks ago and the caller sounded so serious in expressing concern about the alleged cover-up. I was never aware of this case only until I instructed investigators to look into this," Moylan.

Moylan’s claim was supported by his announcement asking the public to inform his office of any details that would support the alleged cover-up on the theft case.

He earlier told Variety that they just started a preliminary investigation after receiving the anonymous call.

Moylan said that if there was really a police report, he will write a letter to the airport police chief to provide him a copy of the said document.

Meanwhile, a factual background of the theft case was provided yesterday by Torres.

The airport press release revealed that on April 29, 2005, Nancy D. Valeriano, an employee at the Café Allegro, contacted the Guam International Airport Authority police to report a theft from the cash register change fund.

The preliminary Guam International Airport Authority police investigator was Officer D.J. Ulloa who was informed by Valeriano that the sum of US$176 was stolen between April 27 and April 28, 2005.

Ulloa interviewed Irene Mesa, the manager of Café Allegro at that time. Mesa stated that Charles Pangelinan was in charge of the night deposits for the month of April 2005.

Mesa told the officer that the night deposits for that month were short of approximately US$4,000.

The shortage in the cash register change fund reported on April 29, 2005 was a separate incident from the night deposits allegedly involving Charles Pangelinan.

According to Guam International Airport Authority’s statement, during the course of the investigation about the case register change fund, Airport Authority police officers interviewed Valeriano, Mesa, Francis Calvo, Michelle Bautista, Leslie Batacan and Janet Mondin, all employees of Café Allegro.

The said café employees stated that Pangelinan was not on duty or in the area at the time that the shortage in the cash register change fund occurred.

The said investigation was ultimately suspended because a lack of internal accountability procedures at Café Allegro made it impossible to determine who was responsible and there were no eyewitnesses to the theft, according to Guam International Airport Authority.

On the subject of the shortage in night deposits at Café Allegro, Mesa informed Officer Rick Garcia that no formal complaint had been filed with the police and that Charles Pangelinan made an arrangement to pay back the money with the proprietor and the accounting supervisor.

Guam International Airport Authority said that Mesa asked Garcia about what could be done if Charles Pangelinan reneged on his agreement to pay back the money to Café Allegro. Garcia said that he would contact the on-call prosecutor at the Attorney General’s Office to discuss the matter.

On May 25, 2005, at approximately 11:50 a.m., Garcia contacted Littlepage at the Attorney General’s Office and explained the situation.

"As he understood it, Officer Garcia said that he was told by Mr. Littlepage that if Allegro does file a complaint, to entertain it, but not to arrest Pangelinan. Mr. Littlepage also said that it sounded like a civil complaint," the Airport Authority press release said.

Guam International Airport Authority further explained that Café Allegro never filed a criminal complaint against Charles Pangelinan with regard to the night deposits.

The Airport Authority said that it has no authority to discipline Charles Pangelinan because he is not an employee of Guam International Airport Authority.

Guam International Airport Authority also said Officers Garcia and John Flores did not communicate with the deputy general manager regarding the investigation of her son.

Torres has also requested Guam Police Department’s Frank Ishizaki to conduct an independent investigation, as he told the media that they will fully cooperate with the investigation.

Guam International Airport Authority deputy general manager Edith Pangelinan, who was on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigations, was instructed not to come to the airport administrative offices or be permitted to access secure areas of the airport unless she has to travel.

Torres said Pangelinan also surrendered her security access badge and was instructed not to discuss the case with any employees of the airport.

She will be on administrative leave with pay for 20 days.

February 1, 2006

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