Adelup defends Gutierrez travel perks

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Former governor Carl Gutierrez said he also wants to works toward increasing tourism from the Philippines. (PNC photo)

The administration has defended the travel perks granted to former governor Carl T.C. Gutierrez.

An internal memo obtained by NewsTalk K57 showed that Gutierrez, now the administration’s chief economic advisor, was given a travel rate exception.

The memo was addressed to Melanie Mendiola, director of the Guam Economic Development Authority, and signed by Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero.

The memo reads: “Pursuant to Section 3.5.11 of the Department of Administration’s Travel and Transportation Policy, this memorandum is to grant an explicit travel rate exception for Carl T.C. Gutierrez, former Governor of Guam and Chief Advisor on Economic, National, and International Affairs. All official travel requests for former Governor Gutierrez may be booked at the business rate. Thank you for your cooperation.”

Adelup has issued a statement saying that pursuant to the governor’s authority in the Department of Administration’s travel and transportation policy, the governor granted an exception to former governor Gutierrez as a courtesy for his tenure and service as a former governor who continues to serve Guam in an official capacity in the Leon Guerrero – Tenorio administration.

Adelup Chief of Staff Tony Babauta, in an interview with Patti Arroyo on NewsTalk K57, said that the special travel rate for Gutierrez was a courtesy and in recognition of his being a two-time governor and an official part of the administration as Chief Advisor on Economic, National, and International Affairs, which requires a lot of official travel.

In addition, there are also security considerations and the fact that the current administration is unique in that it is the only one in Guam’s history which has a former governor working for the administration.

“I can’t recall any sitting governor who has a former governor working in his or her administration,” Babauta said.

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero also defended the former governor, saying Gutierrez has contributed a lot to the people of Guam and if it were any other former governor, she would issue the same kind of convenience. She said Gutierrez’s travel expenses is very minuscule compared to the good work he is doing for Guam.

“ I really don’t understand why it’s an issue. I don’t see it as an issue I see it more as an investment to promoting our economy and opportunities out there in the global world,” the governor said.