Respicio to Manglona: DOA IS Responsible

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Guam – Senator Rory Respicio has responded to a letter from DOA Director Benita Manglona in their ongoing flap over which GovGuam Department is responsible for the implantation of the electronic child support payment law.

The exchange began Monday with the issuance by Respicio of a release calling on Guam Attorney General Lenny Rapadas to “compel” the Department of Administration “to implement the electronic child support payment law.”  

Manglona responded Wednesday with a release of her own saying that “the Child Support Division is under the Office of the Attorney General of Guam – not the Department of Administration,” and she admonishes the Senator to raise the issue of enforcement with the AG.

Today, Thursday, Respicio fired back with a statement asserting that “DOA IS responsible.” 

He cites the Judgement and Proceeds section of the law which states:

“‘Any proceeds of judgments or settlements shall be deposited in the General Fund.’  [Administered by the Department of Administration].”

The release quotes the Senator as saying: “It’s disappointing that Ms. Manglona has decided to avoid responsibility for the past year while Public Law 31-95 has been in effect.”

Senator Respicio says he has raised concerns about the issue because “no progress has been made to make sure that child support payments are processed electronically in a timely manner for the families that depend on them.” 

The Governor’s Communication’s Spokesman Troy Torres immediately responded to this latest release with the following:

“Sen. Respicio is obviously confusing the law he wrote with the other portions of the law involving DOA. His letter to the AG and news release questioned why DOA has not set up the electronic funds transfer program mandated by his P.L. 31-95. His public law does not mandate DOA to do any such thing. The mandate is for the Attorney General’s Office. He should know this. He authored the mandate.”

READ Senator Respicio’s response in FULL below:

Respicio to Manglona: DOA IS responsible

Hagåtña – Senator Rory Respicio today expressed disappointment in a letter received yesterday from DOA Director Benita Manglona in which she claimed that her department has no legal responsibility for expediting the electronic processing of child support payments. Respicio noted that DOA is mentioned several times in the Child Support provisions of the current statute, including Title 5 Guam Code Annotated Chapter 34, § 34107 (a) and (b):

Ҥ 34107. Judgments and Proceeds.

(a) Upon final hearing, judgment for the Department [Attorney General’s office] shall include all sums expended during the pendency of the action. When the Department recovers judgments it may enforce, compromise or settle the judgments with the consent of the Attorney General in any way considered to be in the public interest. Any proceeds of judgments or settlements shall be deposited in the General Fund. [Administered by the Department of Administration]

(b) An order for child support is a final judgment as to any installment or payment of money which has accrued up to the time either party makes a motion to set aside, alter or modify the order.”

Senator Respicio stated, “It’s disappointing that Ms. Manglona has decided to avoid responsibility for the past year while Public Law 31-95 has been in effect.” Respicio has raised concerns about the process because no progress has been made to make sure that child support payments are processed electronically in a timely manner for the families that depend on them.