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Back Local News Cop’s own testimony used against him in Blue House trial

Cop’s own testimony used against him in Blue House trial

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GUAM Police Department officer David Q. Manila, one of the policemen on trial in connection with the prostitution, kidnapping and rape case at the Blue House lounge, couldn’t help but squint his eyes as the prosecutor and a government witness read his previous testimony admitting he had sex with girls inside Blue House.

“I bought her two drinks, we started kissing, and one thing led to another,” the policeman was quoted as saying when he testified before the federal court against Blue House owner Song Ja Cha.

Cha, who was convicted in federal court and was sentenced to life imprisonment, was indicted again along with Manila and two other policemen – Anthony Quenga and Mario Laxamana.

Two other Blue House workers, Freda Eseun and Saknin Weria, were also indicted but became government witnesses like Laxamana as part of the plea deal.

During yesterday’s trial, the prosecution called District Court of Guam court reporter Veronica Reilly, the government’s 15th witness.

Reilly testified that she transcribed the recording of Manila’s testimony in February 2011.

The 22-page testimony of Manila was admitted as an exhibit and read in court by Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Quan, investigator Tracy Volta, and Reilly.

Manila appeared uncomfortable as the prosecution read his words and admission to the federal court that he would go to Blue House once or twice a week, and bring girls to the VIP room to sing karaoke and have sex.

‘Liked’

“Did it ever occur to you that prostitution is illegal?" Manila was asked by a federal attorney, to which he answered “yes” but said he thought the girls liked him and voluntarily provided the sex after he bought them two drinks worth $20 each.

The policeman also admitted that he lied during the investigation and did not report his involvement to GPD because he was scared to lose his job and his wife.

He disclosed that he would respond to Blue House at least three to four times a week and meet the owner personally. He said he met Cha through his former wife who, like Cha, is Korean.

When Manila visits the bar, the owner asks him to help her locate an employee who ran away and owes her money.

Manila admitted talking to the girls but denied threatening them that he would arrest them if they run away.

“I only advised them. I told them they need to pay back Cha or the owner will file a complaint against them,” Manila was quoted as saying.

According to Manila, he also told Cha that her complaint was a civil matter, but failed to advise the girls about it.

The defense counsels of Manila and Quenga did not cross-examine the court reporter and the court proceeded to the next witness.

16th witness

The government’s 16th witness was another former Blue House waitress named "L.P." who was also recruited from Chuuk by Sainin and Sirko Tipingeni.

L.P. was 21 years old when she was sent off by her auntie who received money from Cha for her passport and airline ticket. Like the rest of the girls earlier recruited, she was told not to bring any luggage and that she will work in a restaurant.

She arrived in 2007 with another girl named "M.C." and they were picked up from the airport by the husband of Cha and co-worker Weria. She said her passport was immediately confiscated and as soon as she arrived at Blue House, she was told to change her clothes and put on some makeup.

“I got the feeling it’s not a restaurant. I knew it was a bar and I was not happy because they told me I am supposed to work in a restaurant or a store,” L.P. told the jury.

When asked to describe what kind of clothes Cha wanted her to wear, L.P. said “very, very short dress clothes meant for people who want to sell their body.”

During her first night, L.P. said she had one customer and was instructed by Cha, with Eseun translating in Chuukese, that she needs to make the customer happy and massage him.

She said when her first customer asked her to have sex, she was hesitant but Eseun showed her what to do and taught her how to make the customer happy.

The 8th-grade graduate from a Chuuk school told the jurors that Cha kept telling the girls that if they run away and leave without paying back the money for their passport and tickets, the owner will call her police friends.

She testified that Cha made her and M.C. sign a paper with English words in the presence of the policemen.

“I cannot understand what’s in the paper. We really didn’t bother to read it because we signed it while we were still crying,” L.P testified.

When asked if she saw a lot of policemen visiting Blue House, the witness said it was only “Tony” and "the fat guy."

“Mama-san (Cha) would tell the girls that those are my police friends and if we run away, they will come and get us,” L.P. continued.

“Who are these police officers?” the prosecutor asked. “Tony and the fat one,” the witness answered.

“Are they inside this room?”

“Yes!” the witness answered. “Tony is over there looking at me. He is in a black shirt. The fat one is here sitting by the man in the front wearing a white shirt with green stripes,” L.P. said, referring to Manila.

She added that she saw Quenga and Manila go inside the VIP room with different waitresses.

She said the policemen would come in their uniforms with their badges and service firearms.

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