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AG candidates go head-to-head

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by Janjeera Hail

Guam - Candidates for the attorney general plead their case this afternoon before an audience of local business leaders at a meeting of the Rotary Club of Guam.  Right off the bat, former U.S. Attorney for Guam and the CNMI Lenny Rapadas and Gary Gumataotao were grilled on what they believe to be the most serious crimes plaguing our island. 

Rapadas went first, saying he'll use his resources to prosecute crimes against children and protect buildup money from procurement fraud.  "I'm going to make sure our kids are safe in the sort of immediate future, because this buildup has started," he said.  "My concern is the rampant procurement fraud that may occur here."

Gumataotao said he'll take a hard hand against illegal drug activity and white collar crime - no matter who the perpetrator.  "I can tell you right now, I may be related to a lot of people, but nobody's going to be fencing me off from cases.  Because I'm going to be going after everybody. I don't care if it's my own father. If he breaks the law, I'm going after him," he said.

Rotarians also questioned the candidates on "Obamacare", military contracts, and the outsourcing of legal services to private attorneys by some government agencies - a topic both candidates believe needs to be looked at on a case-by-case basis.  Said Rapadas, "That's a matter that needs to be carefully looked at. I intend to go into the office looking at each of these and determining whether or not it's working out for the betterment of the people. That's what I need to do instead of a wholesale I'm going to do everything."

Gumataotao said on that matter, "I think the answer to this though lies in the billing because who's looking at that $800,000 bill to determine whether or not it's correct. Nobody. Even the Public Auditor doesn't check that, because she's not a lawyer. Only a lawyer is going to know what's appropriate. I've worked in the private sector and I've worked in the public. I know what's appropriate."

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