Saturday, February 26, 2022


 Posted by frenchie.

After a morning of very emotional testimonies, and the extremely logical and embarrassing remarks made by Mr Tudela, the challenge for the attorneys of both side, who had gotten a pretty well deserved black eye, would be to make this riveting moment become irrelevant and forgotten. It was now the turn for the defense to bring their witnesses and documents to make their case.

The two witnesses called were Fr Ronald Richards from the Archdiocese of Detroit currently on loan to Guam and acting as special counsel to the Archbishop , Chancellor (keeper of records) and Episcopal Vicar, acting as General.

The "eminence grise" of the Archdiocese of Agana should be an interesting witness, since he coalesced almost all administrative powers over the last 5 years.

Indeed the testimony lasted close to four and half hours. Therefore instead of trying to give you a step by step account, I will try to give you the main action and the general course of the testimony.

Questioning Attorney was Mr Anderson.

It was established through the testimony that Fr Richards had the requisite experience, education and access to documents in his present positions to make most of his testimony acceptable. 

This did not go without a fight, since in the first 20 minutes of testimony, there was a strongly fought back and forth between the attorneys, with many objections being raised as to what was acceptable. Most objections having been overruled, the difficult task of going through all the documents presented as exhibits , one by one was started and took nearly four hours to be finished. 

Documents presented covered the following:

Loans between parishes, loans to banks, fundraising for schools, request for beginning of construction, records of filing for corporation sole, loan payments by schools and parishes. Letters between priests and chancery , bishops and banks, bishops and priests, as well as war claims docs.

(Interestingly enough a letter from LL Guerrero pledging $100k to Apuron for the construction of a gymnasium at our Lady of Guam Academy)

Documents for post war reconstruction. Lack of signatures for certain documents, because they were carbon copies and not the signed originals. 

All along, there were objections and ruling to overrule or not. Basically the defense team, brought in , in a period of about 4 hours all their documentation, just as the plaintiffs did over the last 6 days.

After this was wrapped up, and as the lawyers and the judge herself were starting to show sign of exhaustion, the last witness was called.

During most of the hearings the Zoom attendance fluctuated between 60 and 90 people. Survivors, clergy, religious, and laity.

Mr Ismael Perez Principal of Father Duenas Memorial School.

Credentials and identity were established and accepted, back ground was reviewed, and going over the document presented by Mr Perez, as being from personal knowledge.

The judge again made the lawyers aware that she knew the witness, because of her children's history at father Duenas. No objections from both sides. 

Testimony covered day to day operation, and the building of the school following a gift of land.

It was established that the gift of land was subjected to restrictions tied to the construction of a school only. Objection on hearsay was overruled based on fact that the granter was a family member of Mr Perez who had direct knowledge of said gift.

There was a last cultural misunderstanding based on Family/Clan names, which was strangely enough settled by the judge, who gave the cultural background to the plaintiffs lawyers, who in turn  lifted their objection. No cross examination. 

Proceedings ended at 5.00pm 

Closing arguments to be presented on Saturday February 26 at 1.00pm

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