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Carbullido convicted of theft

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Aug. 5, 2008) – Democratic legislative candidate Ivan Borja Carbullido has been removed from the Primary Election ballot.

Theft is a crime of moral turpitude, Guam Election Commission board member George Cruz said yesterday, and most commission members agreed in making the vote.

Carbullido, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft in December 2000, was certified as a candidate last month after the commission's staff failed to notice the crimes listed on his police clearance report.

Guam law states candidates for the Legislature can't be convicted of a felony or of any crime related to criminal sexual conduct or moral turpitude.

Board members yesterday acknowledged Carbullido's police clearance incorrectly listed a felony theft conviction, but they deliberated the question of moral turpitude as it relates to his misdemeanor theft conviction.

Carbullido's status as a candidate needed to be answered because 59,000 ballots for the Primary Election were headed to the printer yesterday. Guam law doesn't define "moral turpitude" as it relates to candidate qualifications, so it was a decision for the board to make.

Cruz noted that commission legal counsel David Hopkins last week told the board the federal court has found misdemeanor theft to be a crime of moral turpitude.

Carbullido addressed the board before it deliberated his fate.

"I made a mistake. I'm not going to deny it," Carbullido said, adding that he owned up to the mistake in court, followed every rule of his probation for two years, and paid double restitution.

"I didn't run away from it," he said.

Court documents state Carbullido received $1,700 from Sen. Judith Won Pat in 1998 as down payment for a vehicle, but she never got a vehicle or her money back.

Carbullido told the board he never intended to keep the money. He was working as an insurance adjuster at the time and didn't need it, he said.

Carbullido left the meeting immediately after speaking to the board members and wasn't present for the board's discussion or decision. He couldn't be reached for comment yesterday afternoon.

"Although it is a misdemeanor, theft is in fact a crime of moral turpitude" and the law says Carbullido can't run, Cruz said before making the motion to remove Carbullido.

Board member John Taitano seconded the motion.

Cruz also made reference to the other legislative candidate with a criminal record, Democrat Robert Benavente, whose police clearance lists misdemeanor convictions for disorderly conduct and joyriding in the early 1970s.

Benavente's crimes "were not crimes of moral turpitude," Cruz said. "But theft is, whether it's a misdemeanor or a felony, in my opinion."

Voting to decertify Carbullido as a candidate and remove his name from the ballot were: Cruz; Taitano; Joe Mesa and Alice Taijeron.

Democratic board member Larry Ramirez didn't vote, saying beforehand he wouldn't take action against any Democratic candidate because he is on the board as their representative. Chairman John Terlaje didn't vote. The chairman doesn't have to vote.

Also yesterday, the commission acknowledged a resignation letter from board member Jennifer Calvo-Quitugua.

Ramirez also announced his resignation from the board yesterday, saying he is running as a write-in candidate for Legislature.

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