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HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, June 7) – A former Philippine mayor was arrested on Guam yesterday on three theft-related charges stemming from a Saipan land deal.

Fidelito Avanzado, 58, was arrested -- on three counts of theft of property held in trust -- and detained, according to the Guam police blotter.

He was being processed for release yesterday afternoon, and the case's investigation continues, according to information from the attorney general's office.

His arrest stems from complaints from three Guam business people who alleged they invested a combined US$50,000 for Saipan land several years ago, but never saw Avanzado again, said Guam Police Department spokesman, Officer Allan Guzman.

The investors went to police after they found out Avanzado was on Guam. They gave their statements to police before Avanzado's arrest, Guzman said.

The investors have Filipino roots and would be unable to own land in Saipan, where land ownership is restricted to people of Northern Marianas descent.

Fidelito Avanzado is a former town mayor of Siquijor island and is occasionally mentioned in Philippine media as the father to Filipino actor and singer Ferdinand Avanzado, more commonly known by his celebrity name Dingdong Avanzado.

The younger Avanzado has occasionally performed on Guam and is one of two principal owners of Matua Agupa Corp., which is being paid by the Guam Visitors Bureau to promote Guam in the Philippines.

The Guam Visitors Bureau's contract involving the younger Avanzado comes at a US$3,000 cost to Guam taxpayers. The contract expires in September, but can be renewed for up to two more years, according to a previous Guam Visitors Bureau announcement.

Philippine Consul General Teresita Mendiola said she received a call from Dingdong Avanzado around 1 p.m. yesterday about his dad's arrest.

Mendiola said she immediately sent her vice consul to meet with Fidelito Avanzado, who was held at the Hagåtña Detention Center yesterday afternoon.

"We will be assisting their family," Mendiola said. "They are Filipinos here on Guam, and we will do whatever we can so long as we are not violating any laws."

June 7, 2006

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