Blue House case: David Manila visit investigated

David Manila, Anthony Quenga and Mario Laxamana of Guam Police Department

David Manila, Anthony Quenga and Mario Laxamana of Guam Police Department

The Guam Police Department and the Department of Corrections are investigating whether four police officers caused a security breach by visiting another officer who is incarcerated in the Blue House case.

Officer David Manila, who is held at the Hagåtña Detention Facility, was visited by three police officers in November, said DOC Director Jose San Agustin.

San Agustin said the visiting police officers were escorted into the detention facility by police Capt. Mark Charfauros, who is detailed temporarily from the police department to DOC.

During the visit, Charfauros allegedly allowed Manila to use his cellphone, which isn’t permitted under any circumstances, San Agustin said. It also is abnormal for police officers to visit an incarcerated suspect after they have been charged in court, according to DOC officials.

The visit that now is under investigation took place on Nov. 21, according to the visitor’s logbook at the Hagåtña Detention Facility. The three visiting police officers are Eugene Charfauros, Carl Lizama and Joel Terlaje, the logbook states.

Joint investigation

Corrections Officer Jeff Limo yesterday said he was instructed to begin an internal investigation into the visit.

Limo said Mark Charfauros was detailed to DOC to work with grant funding and a plan for a new prison, but has no duties involving detainee visits.

“If Mark thought that he was authorized to do so, those are things we are going to have to look into and perhaps change about our memorandum of understanding with him being detailed here,” Limo said.

The police department confirmed the internal investigation but provided few details.

Police spokesman Officer A.J. Balajadia said the joint investigation would examine a “possible breach of security” involving police and corrections officers, but he released no other information about the matter.

DOC Director San Agustin said the Nov. 21 visit should have been a red flag for corrections officers at the Hagåtña detention facility, but a “true coincidence” led the lockup staff to be less scrutinizing than they should have been.

At the same time the police officers entered the detention facility, DOC Warden Frank Crisostomo was visiting for an inspection, San Agustin said.

The facility staff was under the mistaken impression that the warden was escorting the police visitors, so they “failed to question the purpose of the visit,” San Agustin said.

This mistake is reflected in the logbook at the detention center, San Agustin said.

According to the logbook, the three police investigators came to the detention facility for an “official visit” with the warden and Mark Charfauros. Although visitors are supposed to record whom they are visiting in the logbook, that section of the logbook is left blank for their Nov. 21 visit.

The allegations first were made public by Frank Ishizaki, a former police chief and FBI agent, who writes a weekly column in the Pacific Daily News.

In yesterday’s column, Ishizaki congratulated the DOC director for reporting the “serious infractions.”

Ishizaki said the meeting between police investigators and an incarcerated officer should have been prohibited.

“Normally, and I’d like to stress ‘normally,’ interviews by investigators and cops of any detainee awaiting trial are prohibited,” Ishizaki wrote in the column. “They need permission of the defense attorneys. Further, the process usually involves mutual agreement between prosecution and defense.”

Manila’s attorney, William Pole, yesterday said he was unaware his client had been visited by the police officers. Pole said it was unclear if the meeting was inappropriate without knowing more about what was discussed.

“This is one of the reasons why hearsay is not allowed in the courtroom,” Pole said. “There is always a lot of speculation, and until we get some hard facts, it is really hard to comment on what is reasonable or unreasonable behavior.”

Blue House

The Blue House lounge was a Tamuning brothel that masqueraded as a karaoke bar from 2004 to 2008. Brothel owner Song Ja Cha already has been sentenced to life in prison in federal court, but now three police officers are accused in local court of assisting the brothel.

Manila — along with officers Mario Laxamana and Anthony Quenga — are scheduled to go to trial in January. All three officers face allegations of kidnapping and prostitution, and Manila and Quenga have been accused of rape.

The three officers were indicted after a series of Guam Blog stories prompted the police department to reopen the Blue House investigation. Blue House victims levied allegations against police officers in 2008, but no officers were arrested for more than four years.

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