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REPORT: The witness they tampered with, then fired

EDITOR'S NOTE: Kandit, as promised, brings to you this chronological series on the Port 7 scandal. This story of public corruption and political intrigue is the largest and longest-running political witch hunt in the history of the government of Guam. The story begins during the first year of the Eddie Calvo administration in 2011, and continues to this day. We are producing this investigative piece because of the age of this story and the many twists and details involved.

· CHAPTER 11: Merry Christmas Port 7


By Troy Torres

(Tumon, Guam) The Port 7 was originally designed to be the Port 6. It wasn't until after the first six seaport workers were fired that a major kink in the Calvo administration's plan was found that threatened to ruin the entire conspiracy for them that a seventh worker was sacrificed. Six of the Port 7 workers fired following a political witch hunt were terminated on December 18, 2012. The seventh member, Leonora Leon Guerrero, wasn't fired from the seaport until she refused to lie to for Joanne Brown, Dan Tydingco and attorney Mike Phillips.

Integrity has a name: Leonora Leon Guerrero

Ms. Leon Guerrero worked in the port's safety office under then-administrator Frank Roberto. Ms. Brown, who was the general manager at the time, notified her on February 19, 2013 of her proposed firing, which took effect a few weeks later in a final notice of adverse action. In the December 2012 investigation report against the original six workers - Bernadette Meno, Vivian Leon, Francine Rocio, Jojo Guevara, Josette Javellosa, and Frances Arriola - port management premised its entire case on the so-called forgery of a workers compensation document. The document, called a GWC-101a, authorizes an employee who has been injured (in this case, Ms. Meno) to receive medical attention. The GWC-101a for Ms. Meno was issued on September 26, 2011, four days after Ms. Meno's work injury, by the port safety office upon the instructions of its investigator, Paul Salas, and with the documented knowledge of Mr. Roberto. It was Ms. Leon Guerrero, who prepared the document under Mr. Salas's instruction. In order to charge the six workers with forgery, port management relied on the accusations in Mr. Phillips's investigation report, which stated: "Ms. [Anisia] Terlaje (then-deputy seaport manager) has been very closely involved in Mrs. Meno's case from the start. Although there were no witnesses to Mrs, Meno's alleged slip and fall at the Port, Ms. Terlaje filled out the workers compensation forms stating that Mrs. Meno did so. lnterestingly, Ms. Terlaje scratched out the September 26, 2011 representation that medical attention was not authorized, amending the form to note. "101a issued." This 101a authorization for medical authorization form was fraudulently issued. Mr. Roberto says it did not originate from his office as required and says he does not know where it came from. Ms. Terlaje also misrepresented that Mrs. Meno went to GMH as the workers compensation law required of her, whereas no 101a to GMH was written at the time or shortly thereafter because she refused medical attention." The Calvo administration's contention was that Ms. Leon and Ms. Meno forged the GWC-101a so that Ms. Meno could make a false workers compensation claim based on a non-authorized medical treatment form. It wasn't until after the six workers were fired in mid-December 2012 that the Calvo administration realized the basis of its entire case was false. The GWC-101a, which neither Ms. Meno nor Ms. Leon even saw, actually was prepared by the port safety office on September 26, 2011, and sent to the Guam Workers Compensation Commission. An email from Mr. Roberto surfaced that proved the document came from his office. Ms. Leon Guerrero, under questioning, even told the port's attorneys that their claim that the document was forged was in error as she pointed at her initials and said she in fact signed and sent that document. The link solidifying the evidence that the six workers were indeed innocent was the worker who prepared and delivered the document on September 26, 2011 - Leonora Leon Guerrero. In January 2013, the Calvo administration panicked and did the only thing it thought it could do - pressure Ms. Leon Guerrero to lie. Ms. Brown called Ms. Leon Guerrero into meetings with three attorneys, each of them attempting to convince Ms. Leon Guerrero to sign an affidavit stating that Ms. Leon Guerrero did not submit the proper form and replaced it with a forgery under pressure from Ms. Leon and Ms. Meno. They told her that if she signs this affidavit, she would not be fired. She refused to sign the affidavit.

Brown and CURRENT Board member Maria Taitano

On February 19, 2013, Ms. Brown issued a notice of proposed adverse action against Ms. Leon Guerrero. Two days later, Ms. Leon Guerrero replied to Ms. Brown in her defense: "The main allegation made by legal counsel that you appear to have accepted in the NPAA is that I 'falsified' documents relating to a workers compensation claim made by Bernadette Meno. This is not true." She explained what actually happened regarding the document which completely destroyed the lies being pushed publicly by Mike Phillips, Joanne Brown, Dan Tydingco and Governor Calvo. Leon Guerrero told Brown in her response:

“On or about September 26, 2011, Paul Salas requested a GWC-101a for his investigation regarding Mrs. Meno. A GWC-101a authorizes an employee who has been injured to receive medical attention. The GWC-101a that I gave to Mr. Salas for Mrs. Meno identified Guam Memorial Hospital as the treating facility. I received a GWC-202 signed by the Deputy General Manager Anisia Tcrlaje that indicated no medical attention had been authorized. Based on the information I had at that time, I corrected and initialed that form to show a GWC-101a had been issued. I also indicated that, based on the issuance of a GWC-101a, medical attention had been authorized. I am not an investigator, and did not know whether Mrs. Meno actually sought medical treatment. ·r only indicated that a GWC-101a had been issued. …. I did not have any reason to look at any of these documents again until January 2013, when I was told by Mr. Roberto that the Port's legal counsel wanted to speak with me. I was cooperative with the Port's legal counsel and met with them several times. Three attorneys with the Port's legal counsel essentially interrogated me each time. During these meetings, the attorneys repeatedly tried to get me to say that Mary Torres or Vivian Leon "directed" me to alter the GWC-101a and GWC-202. When I explained that no one had "directed" me to do anything, they became upset. I have been a part of the Port family for almost 5 years now. During that time, I never refused or failed to perform my duties and responsibilities as a Planner-Work Coordinator. I never falsified any records. I never misused or stole government property. I have, however, refused to lie on behalf of the Port's legal counsel. As required by Guam law, I have advised my immediate supervisor of the Port legal conduct's misconduct. After my meetings with the Port's legal counsel, Paul Salas approached me and explained that Attorney Phillips instructed him to return to the office and tell me that I was going to lose my job and that criminal charges would follow. J believe that this adverse action has been proposed by legal counsel in an attempt to discredit or silence me. I also believe that this proposed adverse action is in retaliation for my refusal to say that Mary Torres or Vivian Leon "directed" me to do anything. Based on these grounds, I ask that you reconsider the proposed adverse action against me.”

Joanne Brown and Mike Phillips did not want to hear the truth. They wanted Leonora Leon Guerrero to lie. She refused. Her defiance led to her termination. She was fired for refusing to lie about what really happened. One year later, as Ms. Leon Guerrero and the rest of the Port 7 were appealing their terminations, she sent an email to her attorney - Leevin Camacho - detailing the continued witness tampering by the Calvo administration in order to save their case and prevent criminal charges against them:

Former Port Deputy General Manager Felix Pangelinan

"Earlier this evening at about 5:30 pm my husband (John Leon Guerrero) had contacted me at work and informed me that he was asked by PAG's DGM, Felix Pangelinan to speak with him. John had explained the following incident to me: ‘As John was getting ready to end his work day at about 4:40pm, he drove his vehicle to the Main Gate of PAG so that he can flush his windshield of his vehicle. As he was about to exit his vehicle, Floriano Javier Jr. drove up with a PAG golf cart and informed him that the DGM, Felix Pangelinan wanted to speak with him and he was in the front. John responded "ok" and proceeded to drive to the front of the PAG Admin Bldg. As he drove up to the front of the Admin Bldg (in smoking area) he approached DGM Felix Pangelinan and Procurement Administrator Alma Javier. He had asked Felix Pangelinan "what's up" and Felix had asked him if he could spare 15 minutes of his time to speak with him in his office. John replied "yes" and Felix advised to just park his vehicle and he will meet him in his office. John had parked the vehicle and proceeded to Felix's office through the GM stairway.

John and Leonora Leon Guerrero

As John entered Felix's office , Felix had closed the door behind him. Felix began informing John that he was not in any trouble. He than asked John " how is Leonora doing?" John replied "she's good". He than asked John "is she working?" John replied "yes she is". Felix than began saying " Your wife is a good worker and a good employee" We need people like that here at the Port" " "We want to offer her her job back" " John replied "Really?" . Felix than said " I spoke with GM (Joanne Brown) and Maria Taitano and everyone agreed to reinstate her" John than replied "What's the catch?" Felix than said "All she will have to do is write and sign an affidavit stating who instructed her to do what she did" John than replied " my wife did not do anything wrong" Felix than said "we will give her immunity, drop all charges, clear her name and reinstate her" "All she has to do is write and sign the affidavit of who instructed her to do what she did" He than went on to say " Your wife is a good person, she just got caught up in the mix" John replied "she does not even know those people" Felix than said "Everybody there shouldn't have been terminated except Bernadette and Vivian" "They were bad managers because all they had to do was explain to the board that they instructed all these people under them to do what they did and take back the papers and re-do it" "Vivian and Bernadette were the ones that thought of all of this" John then responded "yeah but my wife didn't do anything" Felix than said " We are offering this to everybody that got terminated, your wife, Josette, Francine, Frances. Keep in mind this is a limited time offer. The only ones that we are not offering this to and will not accept back is Vivian and Bernadette. Just talk to your wife because I know she is going to say "she didn't do anything wrong" John replied " because she didn't". Felix than said " Well just talk to her and if she agrees, we'll set it up where she can come in and meet up with the GM and settle this so we can reinstate her and if she does not want to come back, that's ok no hard feelings" John the replied "Do you think my wife is going to want to come back and work in the same office as Frank Roberto and Paul Salas the people that got her in this mess in the first place. " Felix than shook John's hand, hugged him and said "just talk to her about it. John then exited Felix's office, and left the building.’” At the time of her firing, Ms. Leon Guerrero was not even an acquaintance of either Ms. Meno or Ms. Leon or any of the other fired Port employees. She had been threatened that if she didn't lie for the Calvo administration, she would lose her job. Rather than saving herself, she sided with the truth and has been made to suffer ever since. If this isn't the hallmark of integrity and good conscience, we couldn't tell you what is.

Email from Leonora Leon Guerrero to her former attorney Leevin Camaco

Despite the overwhelming financial and emotional impact this attack has had on Ms. Leon Guerrero, she gathered the courage to publicly take a stand last March against the nomination of former Port Chairman Dan Tydingco to be on the airport Board of Directors. Tydingco was nominated by current Governor Lou Leon Guerrero despite Tydingco being a major contributor, support and close confidant of Eddie Calvo for many years.

Dan Tydingco and his boss Governor Eddie Calvo

A portion of her testimony which details her fight against this injustice and her ability to stand her ground and protect her integrity at all costs is as follows and details what happened after she won her case in the Civil Service Commission following 7 days of testimony in a full Hearing on the Merits: “Subsequently after the hearing, the Port filed an appeal with the Superior Court and later Supreme Courts of Guam. The case has been tied up for years in the court as Mr. Tydingco and former GM Joanne Brown directed the continued litigation at a very expensive cost to me and my family. A recent Supreme Court ruling dealing with the burden of proof now brings my case back to the CSC for further discussions on the burden of proof. Needless to say the many years of litigation has been overwhelming both financially and emotionally. During the onset of this event, I was the most infant in the rank and file of this group that was terminated. I was just beginning my career with the Port Authority of Guam and was employed for only 4 years and 11 months. I joined this agency in March of 2008 with hopes to successfully contribute to the agency with my expertise and skills and to be instrumental in the movement of positive change within the agency and to the island. But when Mr Tydingco directed this investigation to take place he had his legal counsel come after me and harass me. I was subjected to harassment by the PAG legal counsel Mike Phillips while being questioned about documents and trying to be influenced under false pretense to take a direction toward an event/events that never occurred. Legal counsel yelled at me. Threatened me if I did not change my story. I was told I would be criminally prosecuted if I did not say what they wanted me to say. But I refused to lie for Dan Tydingco and Mike Phillips and so I was fired and accused of committing crimes. To be clear, during my time at the Port, I never refused or failed to perform my duties and responsibilities as a Planner-Work Coordinator. I never falsified any records. I never misused or stole government property. I have, however, refused to lie on behalf of the Port's legal counsel.

As required by Guam law, I advised my immediate supervisor of the Port legal conduct's misconduct. After my meetings with the Port's legal counsel, my supervisor approached me and explained that Attorney Phillips instructed him to return to the office and tell me that I was going to lose my job and that criminal charges would follow. I believe that this adverse action and termination was proposed by Dan Tydingco and legal counsel in an attempt to discredit or silence me. I also believe that this proposed adverse action was in retaliation for my refusal to say that Mary Torres or Vivian Leon "directed" me to do anything. So yes, despite this traumatic experience, I stood my ground. I was shocked that the Board Chairman Dan Tydingco, the very individual that we as employees trusted to have had the best interest of the employees and the Port at heart, would go to such great lengths to lie about events and destroy so many innocent people. And for the record, having been wrongfully terminated and publicly defamed is one of the most humiliating things an individual can endure. But even in my most fearful and darkest moments regarding this event, not once have I ever thought of benefiting myself so as to lie for Dan Tydingco, Mike Phillips, Joanne Brown and others to keep my job. Integrity and accountability is everything to me with respect to my duties and responsibilities that I have been entrusted to carry out both in my civilian and military career. In no way, shape or form have I - or ever will I - allow my integrity to be compromised. Sadly we can’t say the same for Mr. Daniel J. Tydingco. I urge you to reject his nomination.”

Tydingco's nomination was met with massive opposition and testimony regarding his corruption so he was never allowed to serve on the Airport board. Up until now, Dan Tydingco continues to try and assert his control over the attempts to obtain justice for the Port 7. He is constantly meeting with the governor and trying to influence her decisions as well as those of the former port legal counsel and board members. Despite his efforts the Port has already reinstated 3 of the Port 7 including Leonora Leon Guerrero.

Kandit News will NOT stop until these victims have found justice for what was done and what is CURRENTLY being done against them.

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