Reading Bill 181 makes it clear the sole purpose of this bill is to generate headlines for some of the senators and the administration in a desperate attempt to prevent Congressman Mike San Nicolas from getting any credit for fixing the problems create by the fumbled efforts of Congresswoman Madeline Bordallo to rush this bill through before the 2018 election.

The first “wrong” inflicted on the war survivors and taxpayers of Guam 10 years ago when then Congresswoman Madeline Bordallo failed to accept the compromise offered by Senators McCain and Levin to have the federal government pay war solely to descendants of those killed during the war and to living survivors and their dependents, not to their heirs. Payment of claims by the federal government collapsed when she rejected U.S. Senate’s proposed amendments to the bill.

Just imagine how many more survivors would still have been alive 10 years ago to receive payment if Bordallo hadn’t been so greedy.

The second “wrong” was Bordallo's bill to have war claims deducted from Section 30 funds, which has Guam taxpayers funding the war claims payments instead of the federal government. As bad as having government of Guam pay war claims instead of the federal government, her bill has war survivors and their dependents pay the war claims to themselves out of local tax collections.

Making the bad bill worse was the fact Bordallo failed to include technical instruction authorizing the U.S. Treasury Department to pay the claims out of the Section 30 funds it is holding back from remittance to Guam; and now the U.S. Treasury is holding onto $27 million dollars of Section 30 money to pay future war claims once the technical fixes have been approved.

If the politicians were planning to pay war claims survivors out of Guam funds, why didn’t they do it 20 years ago when more survivors were alive? Why did they wait until most passed on?

Bill 181 is a losing hand. It was lost the moment Congresswoman Bordallo blew it when she passed her “self-pay” war claims bill into federal law with no payment authorization, and tried to hide it.

And as the "War Claims" circus reaches fever pitch, some Guam senators are doing everything they can to make sure Congressman San Nicolas does not get any credit for fixing the mistake made by former Congresswoman Bordallo.

And to make matters worse; the administration and Democratic majority are blatantly using war survivors as political cover for their financial recklessness and headline grabbing as proven when Senator Joe San Agustin declared loudly for the social media cameras "I don't know how much more you need to discuss? These manamko' are passing, the manamko' are waiting."

They’ve been waiting since the end of World War II, and since Guam had a legislature the senators have pretty much ignored this issue. Why this sudden urgency to douse themselves in gasoline and threaten to light it, in an effort to prevent San Nicolas from getting the “very minor credit” for completing a technical correction?

Could it be they want to wrap themselves in “headlines of glory” in advance of the 2020 elections? That’s the way it looks to me and a lot of other voters as well.

It is sad to say that an intelligence test for senators planning to campaign for re-election in the 36th legislature is going to be: “Are you smart enough to pour piss out of a boot without having to read the instructions printed on the bottom?”

The vote on Bill 181 will tell us which ones are.

Ken Leon-Guerrero, spokesperson Guam Citizens for Public Accountability


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