Frank Aguon Bill 54 Session

Frank Aguon, Where Do You Stand? from The Esperansa Project on Vimeo.


Note: This post recounts Senator Aguon's actions in 2010. As of September 2013, Senator Aguon has since introduced two pro-life bills: Bill 191-32 and 195-32 (see www.guamlegislature.com)

Text and our comments (in red) on speech by Senator Frank Aguon on Bill 54-30, 11/26/10.


You know Madame Speaker, I think its always good to bring to light factual information. And I think when you take a look at the genesis of Bill 54 - it was introduced on Feb 2, 2009 - It was referred to the Committee on Health, which I chair. And incidentally on March 17, the Committee had a public hearing on this particular measure.


Though we received numerous statements both supporting as well as opposing this particular measure...

According to Aguon’s own Committee Report on Bill 54, Aguon received only two testimonies opposing the bill, NOT “
numerous statements both supporting as well as opposing.” One of the opposing testimonies was submitted by the law firm of Arriola, Cowan, & Arriola in behalf of the Guam Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and was written by Atty. Anita Arriola. The other was submitted by a private citizen and only expressed personal opposition to the bill. By contrast, testimony in support of the measure was indeed “numerous”.

Aguon’s willingness to distort this fact, especially when he begins his talk with a reference to the importance of bringing “to light factual information”, is curiously suspect, especially when he knows, or should know, that the Committee Report is publicly available and his “facts” can be checked.

The other possibility is that he accepted opposing testimony not included in the Committee Report - a fact that he alludes to in the next portion of his talk.

...and then on March 30 which was obviously a week and half later - it was reported out of my Committee - March, 30, 2009, Madame Speaker. Well incidentally in May of this year my office was visited by a number of individuals who raised concerns about provisions contained in the original legislation that was reported out of my Committee that has some constitutional questions.

There is a lot to consider here. At the public hearing on March 17, 2009, Aguon had advised that he would accept written testimony for an additional 10 days. However, Aguon now tells us that he accepted oral testimony against the bill FOURTEEN MONTHS later! While not illegal, one wonders what the point of a public hearing is if someone can show up 14 months later, long after a bill has been reported out of Committee, pull a few strings, and then nullify the whole process.

Of course it wasn’t 14 months later. If Aguon received any visitors opposing the bill it was in May of 2009, not 2010. We know that the supposed visit could NOT have been in May of 2010 because Aguon had already advised Esperansa member, David Zieber, that the bill had been “re-referred” back to his Committee on January 19, 2010, as per this email:

Date: Tue, 19 Jan 2010 19:52:13 +1000
Subject: Re: DECIDE
From: aguon4guam@gmail.com
To: dkenyaz@hotmail.com

David,

Thank you for sharing your comments.

Bill No 54 was re-referred back to the Committee today due to constitutional questions raised on specific provisions.  Due to this revelation, I will have to review these provisions and ensure that they are consistent with existing constitutional issues.

SENATOR FRANK B. AGUON, JR.

Aguon does not disclose who his visitors were, but they were obviously people of influence. (Because of Arriola’s testimony it is easy to assume that it was Arriola or her cohorts who paid Aguon a visit. But most likely it was someone else - much more influential than Arriola. We will address this later.)

So I requested the Committee on Rules that this bill be referred back to my Committee so that I could have some of my staff members do a little bit of research. Well they conducted research for -  keep in mind that was May.

Aguon’s “mis-statement” about the year in which this occurred is necessary to support the timeline that he is now going to delineate in order to attempt to absolve himself from Esperansa’s public charge that he purposely buried the bill.

Well about 2 and a half months - when I received an update from them - the information that would able to acquire from their research work really was not definitive. So I said we’ve already done enough on the part of the Committee. We need to refer it to a third party and that was the AG’s office. Well apparently we received a response from the AG’s office, I believe it was on Oct 26. And shortly thereafter that’s when it was reported back out of Committee just recently.

By skipping a whole year, Aguon can shorten the timeline so that it looks like he acted promptly and that Esperansa’s charge was politically motivated and timed. But his email to Zieber is damning. In fact it is most likely a double lie. Not only was it not May of 2010 in which the bill was sent back to his Committee, but he tells Zieber that it was just sent back “today”, which was January 19, 2010. Aguon makes no reference to January 2010 in any of his so-called “factual information”.

He also claims in his letter to Zieber that the bill was “re-referred” back to his Committee when in fact Aguon claims above that he himself requested the Committee on Rules to send the bill back to his Committee.

That’s factual information Madame Speaker. And it was my obligation contrary to what people in the community - and they know who they are - (Aguon knew that certain members of Esperansa were in the Public Hearing Room watching the Legislative Session) - had stated about my desires about how I tried to thwart the legislation.

Given what we have already exposed, there is hardly need for comment here. Aguon claims “That’s factual information, Madame Speaker”, when it is NOT factual information and one is left with no other option but the fact that he indeed attempted to “thwart the legislation”, and may very well have succeeded had not Esperansa called him out on it.

Aguon in fact did submit Bill 54 to the AG’s office - but ON THE SAME DAY Esperansa confronted him with the evidence that he and Senator Respicio had been lying to us and to the public for over a year.

You know - having been very closely associated with some family members who had undergone difficult trying times dealing with a decision of either aborting a child or not - and I think its clear for the record that I’ve come out many many occasions, stated that I was pro-life - there’s absolutely no doubt there. I was approached many years back by a wonderful religious organization and they - and that time had inquired with me - and when they asked if I was pro-life or when they asked if I was anti-abortion and my statement is that I am pro-life and these women continued their statements and their inquiries and said uh but are you anti-abortion? And I think saying that I’m pro-life is self-explanatory and that was my response back to these individuals.

We think that the fact Aguon refused to say that he is anti-abortion is in fact the “self-explanatory” part. “Pro-Life” has absolutely no meaning outside the opposition to abortion. Without the opposition to abortion it could mean that one is for saving whales and trees. There was a reason why these “women” pressed him for his position on abortion. And THERE WAS A REASON why Aguon refused to answer.

Well incidentally Madame Speaker - and also for the record and for clarification purposes - I think the good sponsor of this legislation has got to look at the report. After the Committee had received the statements from the AG’s office-  the only amendments that were incorporated in there addressed the concerns of the AG and then it was reported back out of the Committee. So I think that we need to look at the facts. WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS LEGISLATION THAT IS FURTHER AMENDED so that it can provide to some extent - address some of the issues and perhaps extract some of the provisions in here that would clarify the legislation.

This is absolutely amazing! First Aguon spills the beans that what they have in front of them IS NOT the bill that was reported out of his Committee because he says “what we have here (the substitute bill) is legislation that was further amended...”. Further amended by who? What went before the Legislature for debate WAS NOT THE BILL that received a public hearing or was reported out of Aguon’s Committee for the second time, BUT AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT BILL with the same name - and as per our review of the recording of the beginning of the debate over Bill 54 - no substitute bill was legitimately introduced or accepted.

Aguon comments that the legislation was “further amended so that it can provide to some extent address some of the issues and perhaps extract some of the provisions in here that would clarify the legislation.

The only true part of his statement is that the amended bill did in fact “extract some of the provisions”, a full 90% of them as a matter of fact. The bill was so thoroughly “amended” that the few provisions left in the substitute bill achieve the very opposite of the Legislative Findings and Intent. The bill was so thoroughly amended that Senator Respicio, as Chairman of the Committee on Rules (which amended the bill that went to the floor) is in violation of Standing Rule 5.02 regarding the germaneness of substitute bills and ought to be sued or repealed or both.

But you know Madame Speaker I think that, you know, obviously it goes with my position to commend the sponsor of this legislation because apparently I would think that this is a contributor to the results of the last election. Regardless as to what transpired I think its very unfortunate that untruths were told about my position and about why and how this legislation was put forward. Keep in mind that originally it was reported out of my Committee in March 30, 2009. And it was retracted from the Committee on Rules in May of this year.

He repeats the lie about “May of this year” because he is about to blame then Senator Calvo’s supposed exploitation of Bill 54 for his election loss.

So what transpired between March 30 of 2009 and May of 2010 - was saving a life - was saving a life really the focus of pushing this legislation through - and did it have to be used as a political gimmick or as a political posturing on this issue?

Aguon has absolutely no credibility and no basis at this point because of his LIE about the time frame. However, let’s let Aguon have his May of 2010 for a moment and examBilline the rest of what he says.

He blames Calvo for using Bill 54 as a political gimmick to wrestle the election away from him and Gutierrez. However, Aguon and the Democrats had complete control of the bill from the moment it was introduced. It could have been heard, reported out, debated, and voted on a full 18 months before the election.

A smart politician would have done this. Bill 54 would have been a distant memory by the time Election 2010 came around. It was Aguon and Respicio who hid the bill.

Also it was NOT Senator Calvo who brought the bill to light during the run up to the election. It was Esperansa. The reason is that Bill 54 was Esperansa’s bill. We drafted the bill, asked Calvo to introduce it, testified in support of it, and followed it for 18 months.

In the run up to the 2010 election, we implored Senator Calvo to defend his pro-life record in the Legislature especially after Gutierrez/Aguon came out with two full page ads on back to back Sundays in the PDN claiming to be the true pro-life candidates, despite the fact that there was a big zero in their legislative records.

In the end, Esperansa had to design and pay for the ads that advertised Senators Calvo’s pro-life legislative record. Yes, it’s true. We did want Senator Calvo to win the election simply because he was the candidate with the record that aligned with our mission. Why else would you work for the election of a candidate? But Calvo himself never came to us.

In addition we have a record of the whole 10 months of trying to get Aguon and Respicio to move the bill forward to a vote, not just in the weeks before the election that Aguon now cries about!

Because it was out of my Committee. It was before this entire legislative body between March 20, 2009 and May 2010, Madame Speaker. And the mover and the believers of this legislation could have easily anytime between March or April of 2009 had made - put it on the floor. But because issues of constitutionality were brought to my attention I felt it was my obligation on behalf of the people of Guam -  in fact we also had clarity in terms of the constitutional questions.

Aguon again stumbles on his LIE. He says it was before the legislative body between March 2009 and May 2010. He then says it could have gone to the floor between March or April of 2009. Here he gives us the real time frame. In fact it was only available to go to the floor in April of 2009 because it was reported out of Committee on March 30, 2009 and retracted in May of 2009, not 2010.

In addition, the bill was NOT “before the entire legislative body”, it was in fact with the Committee on Rules which sets the Legislative Calendar - and then probably only for a few days - as Aguon unintentionally here admits since it gets tough for him to keep his lies straight.

But regardless Madame Speaker, I stand in support of this legislation because it obviously puts focus on an issue that is not only near and dear to me but I respect - we had one individual that I work very closely with for many years in this august body. And we had different opinions with regards to pro-life and the abortion of a child. But you know Madame Speaker there’s one thing that I recall very distinctly about the two of us is that we always although we disagreed on this particularly sensitive issue we always respected each other for that position.

Aguon appears to be rambling here, probably in an attempt to restore his pro-life image.  But since Bill 54 is the very first abortion legislation Aguon has ever had to consider, one  wonders what “position” he’s talking about. It’s obviously a personal position - which has no relevance to the present issue.

So I stand in support of this legislation and I commend the sponsor for finally putting it forth on the agenda despite having a year and a half to have it entertained by this body and discuss these issues.

Not only did Sen. Calvo NOT put forth Bill 54 on the agenda (the Rules Committee does that), the bill that went to the floor was NOT even the bill Sen. Calvo introduced. In addition, it was not a year an a half, it was a matter of only one month as per Aguon’s above slip-up on the April 2009 date.

For some odd reason it was brought out only as an issue in the course of the last 3 or 4 months.

Aguon clearly blames his election loss on this issue. And since he wants to give us the credit, we’ll take it.  As noted Senator Calvo did not make Bill 54 an issue in the election.  Esperansa made it an issue. While our original intent was not to make the bill an election issue (we had the bill introduced almost 2 years before the election), Aguon, in his attempt to thwart the legislation, set up his own demise. As noted earlier, had the legislation been allowed to proceed to a vote, the issue would have been long forgotten by the 2010 election.

But aside from that, I support it and I would like to see it eventually implemented and I would like to see in fact that resources are identified  to provide the support for our government agencies that are going to be tasked with insuring proper regulation and implementation and proper compliance with these provisions. Because that’s where the rubber meets the road in terms of passing the appropriate legislation and making sure that the resources are identified are directed in the areas where they need to be so that we can see this effectively implemented. And I thank you very much for the opportunity. Si Yuus Maase.

Of course there was in fact nothing to implement in the bill since it was stripped of all the provisions of any consequence. The only thing left in the bill was a 24 hour waiting period during which the mother is supposed to mull over “the risks of carrying the child to term”  - which is the only thing that the abortionist was required to disclose to the expectant mother. And obviously there is no need for “resources” to implement a 24 waiting period.  The fact that Aguon even mentions the need to identify resources for a bill that doesn’t require any - gives some indication of Aguon’s vacuous abilities as legislator.

In the end, one can only wonder about Aguon’s level of political smarts - if not basic intelligence. He has incriminated himself throughout the whole talk, and he did it on the record and on television. Not only does he lie badly, he hands his opponents (us) all the evidence we need to make the case that former Senator Frank Aguon should remain former Senator Frank Aguon for a very long time. A smart politician would have kept his mouth shut.

But back to “the visit” that precipitated this mess. Who was it that visited Aguon’s office and prompted his retraction of Bill 54? Aguon says it was a “number of individuals” but most likely it was one individual who may have brought a few others. Aguon’s propensity to exaggerate the numbers has already been demonstrated.

We know it was a person of influence, but we do not think it was Anita Arriola. In her testimony, Arriola actually encourages Aguon to report out the bill and send it to the floor to be voted down as quickly as possible. Also Arriola - having already testified publicly - would not have felt the need to privately visit Aguon and urge him to quietly retract the bill. And it WAS quiet. There was absolutely no news about it, and but for Zieber’s January, 2010 inquiry, the bill would have languished quietly right along with the other abortion bill Aguon never allowed to be reported out of Committee, Bill 309 - The Child’s Right to Live Act.

The fact that Senator Calvo himself did not make the retraction of Bill 54 a news issue is further evidence that he did not consider the passage of the bill to be a significant asset in his run for Governor and negates the accusation of Aguon and others that Calvo used Bill 54 as a “political gimmick”. Calvo only called on Aguon to advance Bill 54 in the wake of Esperansa’s exposure of the Aguon/Respicio conspiracy to bury the bill.

This does not necessarily impact negatively on Calvo’s pro-life credentials. Eddie Calvo felt that the best opportunity to help the unborn would be from Adelup and he first had to get there. Sensing that Guam’s electorate cared more about the military buildup and economic matters than about abortion, he elected to support the pro-life efforts of Esperansa as the sponsor of pro-life legislation but not necessarily its champion. He may well have been right. Abortion on Guam is almost an unknown issue, and the fact that we have allowed staggering numbers of children to be killed in Guam’s unregulated abortion mills is evidence of that.

But back to the mysterious visitor who single-handedly thwarted the legislative process and negated every word of support for the bill. Having established that it was most likely not Anita Arriola, we are left with the following profile: 1) influential - especially with Democrats, 2) understood the legislative process and how to stop it, 3) militantly pro-abortion, and 4) knew the issue well enough to know that there was a danger in allowing the bill to go to the floor.

Essentially, “The Visitor” understood that the Dems (the majority) would cave to perceived social pressure to at least appear pro-life and probably pass the bill. “The Visitor” knew, unlike Arriola who probably didn’t give it a thought, that 1) the Dems would probably just quietly pass it in order not to incur the wrath of “The Church” (something “The Visitor” was probably familiar with), and 2) that the passage of Bill 54 was much more than just an additional un-enforced regulation to be added to the Guam Code.

“The Visitor” knew that the passage of Bill 54 was a significant incremental ideological step in the war against abortion and its surrogate “mother” - Women’s Rights.

There are very few people on Guam who would fit this profile. As a matter of fact, we think there is only one. We believe that “The Visitor” was in the room at the public hearing for Bill 54, folder in hand, but chose not to speak upon the arrival of numerous supporters including several priests and the Archbishop.

Aguon’s office apparently had not followed instructions. Supporters of the bill were not supposed to be there. Here’s why:

The hearing was purposely scheduled at a time when Aguon knew that Senator Calvo, the author of the bill, would be off-island. Calvo’s office had requested that the hearing be delayed until Calvo’s return. Calvo’s office had confirmed that the request had been granted.

However, on the morning of the hearing we heard that the bill was going to be heard anyway. We called Aguon’s office and were told that Bill 54 was on the agenda but would not be heard as per the request from Calvo’s office. But another call to a different office at the Legislature confirmed that the bill would in fact be heard.

Not knowing what was going to happen, we decided to show up at the hearing just in case. The bill was in fact on the agenda and “The Visitor” was there with folder in hand, accompanied by what looked to be at least two assistants. Obviously “The  Visitor” had information we didn’t have...or weren’t supposed to have. In other words, the public hearing on Bill 54 had been engineered to attract the least possible attention.

Several of us testified in support of the bill. Then the Archbishop and the several members of the clergy showed up. There had been an event that morning at a nearby school which had required their presence. One of the clergy had received a text message about the hearing on the bill, told the others, and they decided to drop by.

With the room now filled with supporters of the bill including the Archbishop, “The Visitor” kept quiet, folder in hand. {She” would get to Aguon later.

One last word about why Senator Aguon went to such an extent to stop Bill 54 and never got to Bill 309, the other anti-abortion bill. It is doubtful that Aguon supports abortion. He is too conscious of the terms of political survival, which on Guam means at least appearing to be pro-life - which up until Bill 54 had been quite easy since he never had to take a stand on actual abortion legislation.

More likely, Aguon was just taking orders. The Dems did not want Calvo to score any points in the 30th Guam Legislature that would assist him in his run for Governor. Burying the two abortion bills, both introduced by Calvo, was necessary - or so they thought. But the Dems grossly miscalculated. Not even Calvo thought, at least initially, that his opposition to abortion was critical to his campaign.

As a matter of fact, when we first approached Sen. Calvo to introduce the Partial Birth Abortion Ban in the 29th Guam Legislature, he called in his Chief of Staff for help in determining how many votes the introductions of an anti-abortion bill would COST him.

This is not slight to Senator Calvo. It is rather, a commentary, a sad one, on the rest of us. As already mentioned, Guam churns out mutilated children from its unregulated abortion mills at the rate of at least one every 1.2 days, ⅔ of which are Chamorro children. (Abortion Reports 2008 and 2009, Guam Medical Records). But abortion has never been an issue in a local election. It is hardly an issue at all, save for the Catholic Church’s annual public demonstrations.

The Dems completely miscalculated the value of Bills 54 and 309 in terms of their effect on Calvo’s campaign. Both bills were introduced early in the 30th Guam Legislature, almost immediately after the term began. Both bills could have been heard and dealt with at least 18 months before the next election, and given the level of consciousness of the electorate on the abortion issue, both would have been a distant memory.

In the end, according to Aguon’s own admission documented above, Bill 54 DID beat Aguon and his running mate, but not because the voting public saw Senator Calvo as the pro-life champion, but because Aguon lied and lied badly.
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