Mixed testimony on Duenas appointment

The confirmation hearing to appoint Evelyn Duenas to serve in the Guam Regional Transit Authority board had mixed testimony, with some in favor and some against her appointment.

During the confirmation hearing to appoint Evelyn Duenas to serve in the Guam Regional Transit Authority board, a fellow mass transit rider brought to light a recording of a 2017 GRTA meeting where Duenas had what would be considered a public outburst.

Fellow paratransit rider Rodney Calimlim testified against Duenas being appointed as a board member, stating that she has anger issues.

He said: “Before you confirm her, please talk to those who deal with Evelyn on a daily basis”

Along with bringing up the 2017 recording of a GRTA meeting where Evelyn had an outburst, Calimlim also brought up what he claims as Duenas’s lack of professionalism in dealing with issues relating to GRTA.

“The words that came out of her mouth, the way she acted as a person who wants to be a board member is very appalling. Is that how we want a board member to act? To talk to the chairwoman of the board? To talk to the executive director of the GRTA?” Calimlim said.

He added: “There are other things that she does where it does become a hazard to not only the riders but also to herself and everyone else around her. She’s a friend but I don’t think she’s ready to become a board member at this time until she knows how to show compassion, the drive to really improve the services for everyone.”

On the other hand, Interim GRTA Executive Manager Celestin Babauta supported the nomination of Duenas, stating that although Duenas has “made some disturbing remarks in the past, Duenas is knowledgeable in the operations of the transit system and a true advocate of the paratransit population.”

Duenas herself testified that with the 30 years of experience of being a paratransit rider under her belt, she is more than qualified to become a board member.

After Duenas spoke about her nomination to the board, Senator Jose “Pedo” Terlaje explained that Duenas’s behavior can be “remediated or resolved” and asked that all board members in general be respectful.

“If we approve this, promise me you’ll use that respect and I’ll tell the other board members to work together because that’s the only way you can solve personal problems and managerial problems. I’ve heard that you do have a temper. I’ve read a lot of written testimonies about your capabilities about knowing the functions about the mass transit authority and I give you credit,” he said.

While Duenas did not focus on the outburst, she did point out the issues GRTA faces as an agency.