By Troy Torres
Under intense questioning from the CNMI House of Representatives, first lady Diann Torres's former security guard testified that she escorted Torres to the Philippines in February 2019, where she met her mother and sisters, and went shopping for pins and stickers.
"Did the first lady meet with anyone in the Philippines, or otherwise conduct any business on behalf of the Commonwealth?" House Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations chairwoman Celina Roberto Babauta (D-Saipan) asked police officer Jomalyn Gelacio during her testimony today in the ongoing legislative corruption investigation into Gov. Ralph Torres.
"No," Ms. Gelacio said. It was one of the few definitive answers the former security officer for Ms. Torres gave to the committee to questions that rarely resulted in answers others than "I don't recall."
"What did you do on the trip?" CNMI Congresswoman Tina Sablan (D-Saipan) asked.
"Went around looking for stuff for the foundation; pins, stickers," Ms. Gelacio answered.
The trip was funded by the Commonwealth's taxpayers. Ms. Torres flew business class to Manila, and Ms. Gelacio received per diem for every day she was there.
The travel authorization, which was requested and approved by Mr. Torres, states the trip would be conducted in the best interests of the Commonwealth. Under oath, however, Ms. Gelacio said Ms. Torres neither met with any person in the Philippines in any official capacity, nor did she meet with any government agencies.
Ms. Gelacio also testified Ms. Torres met her sisters in Manila and escorted her "to hospitals." At the time of the trip, Ms. Torres's mother was in Manila for personal health reasons, according to her testimony and statements by Ms Babauta.
This is a developing story.