By Nancy I. Maanao
(Tumon, Guam) As corruption scandals brew around Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, so have calls from the public for Attorney General Leevin Camacho to investigate her and her administration.
The loudest among these involves the governor's authorization for her legal counsel and son in law, Haig Huynh, to procure illegally hotels for government quarantine and isolation that have outstanding loan balances with the Bank of Guam. Their family owns the controlling interest of the bank. Ms. Leon Guerrero was president and CEO of the bank prior to becoming governor. Her son took over. Mr. Huynh was her counsel at the bank as well.
Documents showing Mr. Huynh's procurement of the hotels, the involvement of the Attorney General's Office, the illegal advance payment of unexecuted contracts, and even the $32 million 2016 mortgage document between the Bank of Guam and the Pacific Star Hotel have publicly surfaced.
So why hasn't the attorney general launched an investigation?
Carlina Charfauros, spokeswoman for the attorney general, said no such corruption investigation has started because the contracts in question have not reached the AG's office yet for clearance as to legality and form.
Kandit has discovered that one of the governor's cabinet members, Department of Integrated Services for Individuals with Disabilities director Phyllis Leon Guerrero, is the attorney general's stepmother.
As a political appointee of the governor, Phyllis Leon Guerrero serves at her pleasure, and may be terminated without notice or due process.
"The fact that Ms. Leon Guerrero is employed as a director does not compromise the OAG's duty to investigate allegations of government corruption," Ms. Charfauros said. "When conflicts of interest do arise, we screen affected employees from involvement in the matter, including when the conflicted employee is the AG himself. Our office will continue to independently and objectively carry out its mission."
Ms. Charfauros explained that a 'conflict screen' is when an employee at the OAG, "is completely walled off from a case and the staff is made aware that a person/s should not have any knowledge of said case."
Is it possible for the guy in charge of the OAG, the AG himself, to be completely walled off? According to Ms. Charfauros, it is:
"The AG will conflict himself out if he believes it will affect the integrity of an investigation, review or any other matter the office handles," she said. "Independent counsel can be an option and is something we have done in the recent past. Having a conflict screen is also another option that we regularly utilize. We will continue to independently and objectively carry out our mission- be it investigations of government corruption, reviewing contracts, or any of the multiple functions our office performs."
One question remains: Who decides whether a conflict of interest exists that would trigger a conflict screen or the appointment of a special prosecutor?
Mr. Camacho also is a close personal friend of the governor's legal counsel and son in law, Haig Huynh.