Officers testify in Blue House Lounge case - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Officers testify in Blue House Lounge case

by Mindy Aguon

Guam - Two police officers took the stand as the government continues to present its case in chief in the trial against two of their fellow brothers in blue. The evidence and testimony presented today provided a glimpse inside the infamous Blue House Lounge.    

Officer T.B. Manibusan recalled being called by his wife, Maresa, to the former Blue House Lounge in January 2008.  Maresa had been contacted by a relative and another woman seeking help in retrieving a passport from Blue House owner Song Ja Cha. When they arrived, Cha informed them that she had sent the girl's passport back to Chuuk to her mother.  But Officer Manibusan said he realized something was wrong when the girl told him that her mother had passed away and Cha had lied about being in possession of the passport.    

Manibusan said he and his partner, Mario Laxamana, intended to leave the Blue House until one of the women gave him more information. He detailed, "She said her two cousins are also in there and they also want to leave and they are being forced to do something they didn't want to do, have sex in there."

Police Officer Norbert Tan entered the establishment and found a male customer pulling up his pants, and Manibusan says police then had everyone brought to the Tumon-Tamuning Precinct for further questioning about what was really happening at the Upper Tumon establishment. Attorney Sylvia Stake asked, "So you were not aware of any illegal activity there at all prior to that night?", to which Manibusan said he did not. "At the end of all the interviews, you didn't understand the magnitude of the problem?," Stake continued, with Manibusan responding, "I understand that it was going on for quite awhile."

The officer said he had done one or two periodic checks at the Blue House personally while working the night shift, but never saw any signs of illegal activity when he stopped in to make sure things were okay.  He said officers conduct those checks routinely at establishments in their beat areas to alert business owners of police presence.

Manibusan testified that it was during those interviews with the women that police learned of the prostitution as many of the workers told them they had sex with two or three customers just that night.

He said Freda Eseun, a co-defendant who pleaded guilty in the case, served as the first lieutenant of Cha by controlling the other girls, monitoring the phone calls and activity and cutting off any conversations that had to do with what was going on inside the establishment. It was during those interviews at the precinct, that Police Officer Bia Nanoto was initially called in to serve as an interpreter for the Chuukese women and police.

Nanoto announced, "During one of the interviews it was revealed that evidence of a criminal sexual conduct which was a condom might still be in the Blue House. I informed J.J. Cruz that we need to retrieve the evidence of the CSC (criminal sexual conduct) from the Blue House."

Nanoto testified that as a result of that information, agents with the Guam Police Department's Criminal Investigation Section - including himself - took over the case obtaining and executing a search warrant, re-interviewing the victims and conducting the follow-up investigation.

The trial resumes on Monday afternoon.

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