By Troy Torres
(Tumon, Guam) One week before Sen. Jim Moylan introduced legislation that would cut senators' incessant resolution-writing adventures, his Republican colleague Sen. Wil Castro introduced a resolution congratulating a cop accused of child rape upon his retirement.
Resolution No. 278-35 was introduced by Mr. Castro on January 2, 2020, to commend "Mr. Albert J. 'AJ' Balajadia on the occasion of his retirement, his exemplary accomplishments and his thirty-five (35) years of public service to the Guam Police Department, our people of Guahan, our beautiful island, and our great nation."
Last summer a man known to Mr. Balajadia in the 1980s, when this man was a young boy, sought Kandit's assistance in reporting that Mr. Balajadia had repeatedly raped him as a boy. The rape began in the late 1980s, when Mr. Balajadia already was a police officer.
Kandit reported the matter to the Guam Police Department, where Mr. Balajadia worked at the time under the Criminal Investigations Division; while the criminal statute of limitations on rape charges had expired long ago, the official misconduct statute has not run its course yet.
Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Tapao confirmed with Kandit in August 2019 that due to the complaint, Chief of Police Stephen Ignacio ordered an internal investigation.
Mr. Balajadia retired from the Guam Police Department on September 27, 2019, before the investigation had completed. Mr. Ignacio confirmed that the investigation ended as a result of Mr. Balajadia's retirement.
The man, who made the accusation of child rape, has since sought legal counsel for civil relief against Mr. Balajadia and possibly against the government of Guam.
He told Kandit that Mr Balajadia, who was trusted by the man's family, would come to his residence when the man was a boy while no one else was home and forcibly rape the boy. This happened on several occasions throughout the boy's childhood and while Mr. Balajadia was a police officer.
In 2016 the man noticed campaign signs for Mr. Balajadia, who was running as a Republican nominee for the Guam Legislature at the time. He sought a meeting with the leaders of the Guam Republican Party and received assurances that the party would speak to Mr. Balajadia about ending his campaign for senator. Nothing was done, except by the voters, who rejected Mr. Balajadia in the primary election that year. He came in dead last.
The resolution by Mr. Castro, which if adopted will relay the congratulations of all the people of Guam to Mr. Balajadia, states that with the retirement of Mr. Balajadia, "the Guam Police Department and the people of Guam are thankful for the service of a very dedicated and committed professional in the Guam Police Department, and he will be dearly missed by his many colleagues and co-workers for all the many and significant impact he made."
With the end of the internal investigation at GPD into Mr. Balajadia comes the end of any look into whether he had other victims, which child rapists are known to have.
Since January 2019, the 15 members of the 35th Guam Legislature have introduced 281 mostly congratulatory and commendation resolutions that have absolutely nothing to do with the body's lawmaking, budgetary, oversight, or confirmation duties. The preparation of each of these resolutions normally require at least a full day of research and writing. To pass these resolutions, staffers must route these resolutions for senatorial approval, which normally requires another full day of work. That means that in the 368 days since the 35th Guam Legislature
With the voluminous number of frivolous resolutions introduced by senators already, it is unclear by Kandit's vantage point how many others have been commended or congratulated by the people of Guam and happen to be convicted or accused of rape. These resolutions receive no hearings or any type of public discourse. The vetting process is the responsibility of the authoring senators.
Mr. Moylan hopes to curtail this practice by leaps and bounds. He has introduced Bill No. 265, the Citizens Legislative Reform Act of 2020, which will be the most sweeping reform of the Guam Legislature in its history.
Among other mandates, the legislation if enacted would limit senators to the introduction of only two commendatory resolutions per session of the Legislature. Under Mr. Moylan's bill, the Legislature only would meet twice a year.
Guam Citizens for Public Accountability chairman Ken Leon Guerrero yesterday published one of the main culprits of excessive public resources waste on commendatory resolutions, when he exposed Sen. Amanda Shelton's latest resolution to comment the 24-member Korean Bowling Association. She introduced this resolution the day after Congressman Michael San Nicolas informed the public that the recently-passed local war claims law needs to be repealed by the Guam Legislature because it had caused an objection to the far-more-important federal war claims resolution in the Senate.
Rather than acting on Mr. San Nicolas's call to action, Ms. Shelton introduced a resolution to the Korean Bowling Association.
At the very least, she did not author a resolution to commend a retired cop who used the color of his authority to frighten and rape a child.