Over the last several days, the controversy over the selection of Lt. Col. Esther Aguigui as the new top leader or adjutant general of the Guam National Guard has played out in public.

In the first few days after Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero took office, her administration called Maj. Gen. Roderick Leon Guerrero, the former adjutant general, one of the "agents of change" her new administration wanted to keep.

A few weeks later the governor changed her mind. She decided, according to her statement to the media, that the major general had a "different vision" from hers.


Raising yet more questions was the apology that former Sen. Carlotta Leon Guerrero, the governor's senior adviser on military issues, offered for previously characterizing Maj. Gen. Leon Guerrero's departure as a termination rather than a resignation. The governor said the major general resigned and that he wasn't booted out.

The governor has the authority to choose whomever she wants to lead the Guam National Guard, although there have been questions about her choice for the major general's replacement.

While Aguigui made history in 2012 as the first woman in the Guam National Guard to graduate from the elite U.S. Army War College, there are those who questioned why others of higher rank in the Guam Guard had been passed over.

The Guard leadership's answer was the adjutant general is a title, not a rank, so she didn't outrank anyone.

On Wednesday, Maj. Gen. Leon Guerrero was compelled to break his silence. A transition group working for the then-incoming gubernatorial administration came up with a preliminary report listing numerous issues in the Guam Guard including sexual harassment, favoritism and low morale during the major general's watch.

Roderick Leon Guerrero challenged the truth of the allegations in the report and how its information was gathered. He added those allegations – and the media's reporting on them – will be the cause of pulling down the troop's morale.

Amid all of this came another acknowledgment from the current Guam Guard leadership under Aguigui. A statement released by the Guard's public affairs office Wednesday acknowledged Aguigui had been the subject of a memorandum of reprimand. However, the statement on Wednesday added, the reprimand was found to have been a mistake and it should not have been issued in the first place.

At first, the circumstances of the reprimand – or the mistaken reprimand – were not known because the Guard cited confidentially. Now the National Guard Bureau is investigating.

As of Thursday, we know at least one more new thing: The reprimand was related to Aguigui's housing allowance from the military.


Now that this has been confirmed, the Guard and its commander need to be as transparent as possible regarding what happened, and shed more light on whether the shadow that has been cast both on Aguigui and her predecessor is unfounded.

A few Guam Guard men and women have been investigated and some have been charged in court for military housing allowance-related issues. Some of our Guam Guard members' lives were ruined and their careers tarnished over housing allowance scandals.

We hope the outcome of the National Guard Bureau's investigation will be made public.

And until this issue gets cleared by this entity outside the Guam Guard, we trust that Gov. Leon Guerrero will go with her instinct and do the right thing.

It may be best to hold off on allowing Aguigui to continue with her role as adjutant general until after the National Guard Bureau investigation clears her name.

This is a way to keep the confidence in the Guard leadership among the troops who have achieved records nationally for their exceptional performance and high enlistment and retention rates.


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