AFTER vehemently denying any cover-up into alleged reports that police officers were involved in illegal activities at the Blue House karaoke lounge, Guam Police Department Chief Fred Bordallo has been ordered by Gov. Eddie Calvo to open an internal affairs investigation into the accusations.
During a news conference yesterday afternoon, Bordallo disclosed details of the Blue House case following a meeting at the Governor’s Office. He admitted he was not at liberty to discuss the matters with anyone when investigations started in 2008 because of the sensitivity of the case.
At the time, Bordallo said the wife of a GPD officer asked her spouse to help an employee retrieve a passport from the Blue House supervisor. The officer reported the tip to the chief of the Criminal Investigations Division who in turn organized an operation to enter Blue House based on the complaint.
When officers arrived at the establishment, they observed criminal activity unrelated to the original complaint then arrested the owner, Song Ja Cha, as well as Blue House employees and a patron for suspicion of prostitution and abetting prostitution. The case was then handed over to the Attorney General’s Office for further inquiry. From there, the U.S. Attorney’s Office became involved and the case was handled in the federal court system.
“At no time between the police operation in Blue House in 2008 and the trial that commenced in February 2011 was the Guam Police Department made aware of the involvement of police officers in Blue House. It is my understanding of the facts given to me by the police chief at the time that neither the Attorney General’s Office nor the U.S. Attorney’s Office informed GPD of the involvement of officers,” Bordallo said.
Bordallo said he also wasn’t informed of the possible involvement of GPD officers named “Tony” or “Mario” – both of whom were named during the trial. Bordallo stressed the officers’ names did not come to his attention until recent media reports.
One GPD officer, David Manila, took the stand during the course of the trial and admitted on the stand to paying for services with an employee and even having sex with the employee. Manila received adverse action by GPD following an internal affairs investigation but was not terminated.
“Until now, I have not ordered an investigation into the allegations about the possible involvement by officers named Tony or Mario. I explained these facts to the Governor’s Office in light of the looming official request by the lieutenant governor to the Attorney General to conduct an independent investigation,” Bordallo said.
The GPD chief said he has been ordered to open an investigation into the allegations of GPD involvement. As such, GPD will again review the investigation surrounding Manila.
The investigation will be conducted by a senior GPD officer who has no ties to the case or any individual suspected of being connected with the incidents.
“As the chief of police, concerned both with the morale of my officers and the public’s trust in our integrity, I wholeheartedly welcome this investigation,” Bordallo emphasized.
The owner of Blue House was sentenced to life in prison last month in District Court. The case is now in litigation in the Superior Court. Cha has filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.