AG: Special election for Yona mayor may not be necessary

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Former Yona mayor Jesse Blas (file photo)

The village of Yona is without a mayor as Jesse Blas, who is behind bars, has resigned and already pleaded guilty to extortion.

And while the Guam Election Commission will be meeting next week to finalize the vacancy and determine how to move forward, the Office of the Attorney General has issued an opinion that could provide a different avenue for filling the vacancy.

A special election may not be necessary as the Office of the Attorney General says that the Legislature can determine the manner of filling vacancies in the municipal offices of mayor and vice-mayor.

In short, now that Yona Mayor Jesse Blas has stepped down from office, the Legislature has the authority to appoint an individual to fill the vacancy.

The OAG adds that the Legislature can do so without encroaching upon the governor’s power of appointment in the Organic Act.

Blas has been in custody for a little over four months, and up until now, he had maintained his innocence against allegations that he sold USPS cluster mailbox units at the Yona Mayor’s office to a person he believed was a drug smuggler who later turned out to be an FBI confidential informant.

Indicted on offenses related to extortion and bribery, Blas has agreed to enter a guilty plea to one count of extortion under color of official right.

Admitting that he used his official capacity as mayor to obtain money he was not entitled to receive, the government says he accepted $11,700 in total from the illegal activity.

The plea calls for the remaining 12 counts of extortion and bribery to be dismissed.

Blas is set to formally accept the deal next week Tuesday at 10 am.

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.