Corruption charges: Aguon ready to debate Tenorio

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Game on? Or game off? That was the billion dollar question this morning.

Guam – Will Ray Tenorio debate Frank Aguon on the rush of corruption charges flowing over the Calvo Tenorio Administration almost daily?

When Sen. Aguon (D) called news media to a press conference on a whistle-blower protection bill he’s introducing, Pacific News Center asked if he himself is willing to debate the unchallenged Republican nominee for governor on a litany of malfeasance and fraud allegations against the administration of Gov. Eddie Calvo and Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio.

“Now if Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio wants to go head to head –  and he has done nothing to address the Chamorro Land Trust; he has done nothing to address the corruption that has been exposed by two professional doctors; he has done nothing to address the raiding of special funds not authorized by law, then that tells me he is abdicating his responsibility, and he is also contributing to the situation,” Aguon said to a Wednesday morning gathering of reporters he had called to the Guam Congress Building.

After receiving Aguon’s whistle-blower protection bill just after 10:30 this morning, Pacific News Center pressed Aguon on what immediate corrective action he’s willing to take to find out whether a growing list of public corruption charges will hold up in the court of public opinion.

Such would be a more direct approach than wading through the lengthy, risky process of attempting to get politically timed legislation through the slow grind of passage and signature into law. So Aguon dumped responsibility right back into Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio’s lap.

“Senator, are you willing to debate him on this issue? Are you willing to debate him head to head?” PNC asked Aguon at the conference.

“I am absolutely willing to debate him, because I just shared with you exactly what the situation is,” he said. “If you wanna talk about government corruption and you wanna talk about fraudulent activities, it’s all there!” Aguon lauded the media for reporting questionable activity in government and then proceeded to call Tenorio out.

“You have all contributed to exposing those issues and those concerns,” he said to journalists. “And, yet, he as an incumbent lieutenant governor has done nothing—has not stepped forward, has not addressed these concerns, has not even called these people in—that I know of—and said ‘you need to allay the fears of  the community. What are you doing to correct this situation?’”

So, there you have it. Sen. Frank Aguon, a gubernatorial contender for the Democratic nomination, openly challenging incumbent Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio, throwing down the gauntlet, ready to debate him publicly on the issue of government corruption. Lt. Governor Tenorio questions the timing. But for Senator Aguon, timing is everything.

As soon as PNC received word that Aguon was introducing his whistle-blower protection bill—and just before Aguon’s press conference—PNC caught up with Tenorio for reaction at a ribbon cutting for the fresh paving of Pale Kieran Hickey Drive in Sinajana.

PNC: “Obviously there’s a trend right now. There are a lot of people coming out who are proclaiming to be whistle-blowers and there’s some contradiction between what the administration’s story is on some of these accusations and what their story is. Can you give us your reaction to legislation to legalize the protection of whistle-blowers—people who are calling out this administration or any other for that matter?”

LT. GOVERNOR: “I think there’s already safeguards in place. I mean, sure, there are people that have knowledge of any improprieties across the spectrum of government that they come out with in the accusations, [but] the whistle-blower legislation is already in place. I don’t know what kind of bill Senator Aguon’s looking at, but, again, you know, I think you’re going to see a lot of sensationalism now and in the next six months until the gubernatorial election is over, because it’s election season.”

In the heat of political battle driving the governor’s race less than two and a half months before the August primaries, Aguon senses no time like the present.

“In regards to the timing of this legislation, the focus is on protecting our public employees and the whistle-blowers who step forward and put their lives, their reputations, and even their families at stake by virtue of exposing fraudulent activities and corruption,” Aguon said.

Lieutenant Governor Tenorio’s official response to Senator Aguon’s public outcry is less than direct, coming from Tenorio’s chief of staff, and not saying yes or no to Aguon’s immediate challenge.

“The Lt. Governor will gladly debate the winner of the primary election on any issue. Senator Aguon’s time would be better spent focusing on his elected duties and his primary election, where our polls have indicated that he has slipped.”

—Joe Duenas, Lieutenant Governor’s Chief of Staff

At 3:04 this afternoon, PNC asked the Calvo Tenorio Administration whose polls they were referring to when they wrote that “our polls” indicate Aguon is behind. The Calvo Tenorio Administration’s polls or the Republican gubernatorial Tenorio Ada ticket’s polls? As of this evening, PNC is still awaiting a response.