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Whistleblower silenced for reporting DPS chief's brother

By Troy Torres

(Tumon, Guam) Department of Public Safety Commissioner Robert Guerrero retaliated against 12-year DPS veteran Edgar Pangelinan after Mr. Pangelinan reported Mr. Guerrero's brother for misconduct to the attorney general.

A complaint of sexual harassment against Mr. Pangelinan also was falsified in order for Mr. Guerrero to justify transferring Mr. Pangelinan from the Department of Motor Vehicles, where he worked as a supervisor, to a desk clerk post at the Joeten Kiyu Public Library.

Despite numerous complaints detailing the retaliation to the AG's office, the Office of the Public Auditor, and the Civil Service Commission Office of Personnel Management, the treatment against Mr. Pangelinan has not been corrected. It should be noted that Mr. Guerrero's son, Robert Guerrero, Jr. was an investigator at the OPA at the time.

Kandit News Group has received several similar complaints of Torres administration officials retaliating against rank-and-file employees for speaking up against the misconduct of government officials. Several other complaints involve the silencing or termination of employees whose relatives were known to have campaigned for Gov. Ralph Torres's opponent in last year's gubernatorial election.

However, only Mr. Pangelinan has agreed to go on the record and to furnish Kandit with documents detailing how high-ranking officials have retaliated and discriminated against him .

Mr. Pangelinan made a formal complaint earlier this year about misconduct involving another DPS employee, who is Mr. Guerrero's brother. Following the complaint, Mr. Pangelinan was routinely harassed by Mr. Guerrero, who also employed the department's internal affairs unit to ridicule and to harass Mr. Pangelinan as well. Mr. Guerrero then detailed Mr. Pangelinan from his supervisory role at the DMV to the front desk of the police division performing clerical duties in a non-supervisory role.

On April 24, 2019, Mr. Pangelinan filed a formal grievance with the OPM regarding the harassment and the transfer following his complaint against Mr. Guerrero's brother. It took OPM two months to acknowledge receipt of the grievance. Then, on July 24, 2019, despite OPM's instruction to Mr. Guerrero not to retaliate further against Mr. Pangelinan, the DPS commissioner informed Mr. Pangelinan that he is transferring Mr. Pangelinan to the Joeten Kiyu Public Library effective August 12, 2019 on a temporary 90-day detail.

On July 30, 2019, Director of Personnel Isidro Seman formally responded to Mr. Pangelinan's grievance, referencing the retaliation against him for reporting the commissioner's brother and telling him "[O]ur office will look into the matter so it can be further investigated by appropriate individuals and be addressed accordingly."

To this day, no such matter has been investigated and addressed regarding the complaint made against the commissioner's brother, though much has happened to Mr. Pangelinan in retaliation for making the report.

Mr. Seman also told Mr. Pangelinan that in the course of their investigation of his complaint against Mr. Guerrero, it was found that Mr. Pangelinan was moved from the DMV to the front desk of the Police Division this year because of a sexual harassment complaint made against Mr. Pangelinan "years ago." Mr. Seman wrote, "This is a serious complaint that prompted management to move you out of DMV and placed (sic) you in an area where you can work and be fully utilized."

Mr. Pangelinan had no idea what Mr. Seman was talking about, as he had never been the subject of a sexual harassment complaint. He filed with Mr. Guerrero an Open Government Act demand for documents that substantiate this claim that a sexual harassment complaint ever was filed. No documents were found. The complaint was fabricated.

A private investigation was conducted to further determine the source of the fabrication. In a memo to Attorney Michael Dotts, Isa Camacho attested to her interview of the person whom the supervisor of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles said had been harassed. The woman said she made no such complaint and that Mr. Pangelinan had never harassed her.

During Mr. Pangelinan's temporary detail to Joeten Kiyu Public Library and while his civil service grievances were still pending, Mr. Seman signed off on his transfer and reclassification of position from Motor Vehicle Supervisor to Administrative Officer III. Mr. Pangelinan to this date has not been called by the OPM director for his side of the story, nor has he received a hearing on the merits of his complaints.

The Department of Public Safety punished him for reporting the misconduct of its commissioner's brother.

The Office of the Public Auditor, where the commissioner's son worked, ignored Mr. Pangelinan's complaints.

The Office of Personnel Management has allowed the retaliation to happen, and has signed off on at least one of the retaliatory acts.

The Office of the Attorney General has done nothing.

No one in the government - not any office that is supposed to be protecting Mr. Pangelinan and those like him from the abuse of the powerful - is doing anything to protect Mr. Pangelinan from political retaliation.

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