By Johnnie Rosario
(Tumon, Guam) Longtime Guam Civil Service Commissioner Priscilla Tuncap delivered a bag of documents to seaport legal counsel Joe McDonald in relation to the infamous Port 7 case with a message: "You can't let them get away with this."
Ms. Tuncap is a member of the CSC, which is trying the cases of seven former seaport workers, who were fired following a political witchhunt. Five of the seven workers have received some form of vindication from the allegations against them and validation of their innocence and victimization by former seaport legal counsel Mike Phillips, and former general manager Joanne Brown along with former chairman Dan Tydingco.
The remaining two - Vivian Leon and Bernadette Meno - have yet to have their cases heard by the commissioners despite being fired 8 years ago.
Ms. Tuncap, as a CSC member that is part of the panel hearing the case, is not supposed to be talking to any of the parties outside of the judicial hearings called by the CSC. Her delivery of documents to the seaport's legal counsel attempting to help the seaport to win its case against the remaining fired workers is akin to Judge Michael Bordallo giving documents to Attorney Jay Arriola to help him win Mark Torre, Jr.'s case in the Superior Court of Guam.
Ms. Tuncap's illegal delivery of documents to Mr. McDonald happened, ironically, after Mass on Sunday, November 24, 2019. Two days later, Mr. McDonald returned the bag of documents with a letter to Ms. Tuncap, the contents of which reads:
Hafa Adai! Mrs. Tuncap:
Please find, together with this letter, an envelope containing the bag and the documents that you gave to me on Sunday, November 24, 2019 after the 8:00 a.m. mass in Maina. I have not read or reviewed the documents, do not know that they contain, or who or what they may pertain to.
The reason why I return them is that I am cautious about receiving these documents outside of a hearing at the Civil Service Commission, as there are rules for attorneys regarding ex parte communications, which are communications with an adjudicative officer without the other party being notified or present. Because I appeared in front of the commission on November 21, 2019, I am assuming (again, out of caution) that the documents may potentially concern the case that the Port has with Employee Francine Rocio, which was heard on that date. Please know that I discussed the matter with an ethics professional and am guided to this course of action.
Although I have no knowledge of what the documents are about, please note that, further out of an abundance of caution, I disclosed my receipt and return of the documents to Ms. Georgette Concepcion, who is the attorney for Employee Francine Rocio.
/s/Joseph B. McDonald
The parties involved are calling for the recusal of Ms. Tuncap.
On December 2, the CSC's in house legal counsel and administrative law judge Eric Miller, wrote to Mr. McDonald informing him the CSC chairman Danny Leon Guerrero tasked Mr. Miller to investigate Ms. Tuncap. "Can you shed some light on this?" Mr. Miller asks Mr. McDonald.
In email correspondence dated December 3, Mr. McDonald wrote to Mr. Miller and Mr. Leon Guerrero: "I understand that one or more of the attorneys above intend to move for Commissioner Tuncap's recusal, or there may be another procedure or lawful process to be undertaken by the CSC. I ask that we please handle this issue through appropriate channels and involve relevant parties as per the rules."
Ms. Tuncap's ethics on this case and others has been in question for several years now. In 2013, despite her responsibility to base a determination on whether to reinstate the fired workers because of the seaport's violation of the 60-day rule on the timeline itself, she instead said on the record, "This is just really juicy stuff and I want to hear it all."
AG confirms investigation into government officials
Earlier today Attorney General Leevin Camacho released an odd, vague statement, that may be related to this issue:
"The Office of the Attorney General can confirm it has received allegations against government officials. The Guam Police Department has been working to make sure that we receive all relevant reports and evidence. The OAG is actively reviewing these matters. Any felony charges would have to be brought before a Grand Jury and is subject to availability."
Carlina Charfauros, spokeswoman for the attorney general, told Kandit, "I cannot confirm what investigation or investigations the statement is related to."