The case against Governor Shmull and Batiancila was disposed of on May 2, capsule 2014.
The Court on April 11, 2014, dismissed the one count of prostitution against Governor Shmull removing him as defendant in this case. Court documents indicate that the one offense he faced occurred “when Mr. Shmull solicited prostitution from Maria Lolita Ramirez and/or Winnielyn Marcelino”, but the bill of particulars lists various alleged actions between Shmull and other women, which occurred over the course of at least 8 to 9 months.
Furthermore, the Courts states that this “insufficiency could have been cured simply by taking the time to examine the first bill of particulars and take out the extraneous allegations that refer to the charges” in a separate criminal case.
This case was the second largest human trafficking and prostitution case ever filed in Palau.
Posted on January 23, 2014
Palau is cracking down on prostitution and human trafficking in large part as the result of an Attorney General Victoria Roe who is committed to eliminating sex and labor abuse and coercion.
On January 13, 2014, the AG’s office named Peleliu State Governor Temmy Shmull and Philippine national Mary Claire Batiancila as co-defendants in a new case where they both face criminal charges as a result of sexual acts that took place between them for money at ATT Karaoke Bar and Disco and perjury related to such conduct. This is Governor Temmy Shmull’s second appearance on a criminal matter in the last month.
In this new case, Governor Shmull stood before American Associate Justice, Ashby Pate, in Courtroom 103 on January 23, 2014, and pled not guilty to soliciting prostitution and was released on his own recognizance. Batiancila faces one count of perjury as a result of committing perjury during a deposition. She also faces one count of prostitution, a felony charge punishable through fines of up to $10,000.00 or one-year and one-day in prison, or both. During her court appearance before Judge Pate on January 23, 2014 she also pled not guilty.
The affidavit of probable cause provided by Police Officer Helenda Oimei, describes various sexual acts involving the ATT waitresses and customers. A waitress named Maria Lolita Ramirez stated that upon her arrival to Palau on July 27, 2013 she was brought to ATT to work as a “waitress.” However, to her dismay she witnessed a male customer touching another waitress’ vagina and breast. Although terrified on her first night at work, Ms. Ramirez admitted that in the months to follow there were roughly four different occasions where she let Governor Shmull touch and rub her vagina while he was waiting for Ms. Batiancila to finish with a customer. Ms. Ramirez claims that she has seen Ms. Batiancila enter a VIP room with Gov. Shmull six times including once with a Japanese businessman named Yamasang. In September 2013, Ms. Ramirez stated that she and Ms. Batiancila entertained Yamasang and his friends in a VIP room. Ms. Batiancila began dancing naked and soon after sat on Yamasang’s lap, rubbed his penis with her hands then had sexual intercourse with Yamasang in front of everyone in the room.
Another waitress interviewed named Maria Theresa Serapion told similar stories of sexual acts taking place at ATT. She alleged that during her first night at work in September 2013, Jeryl Blas aka “Mamasang” escorted her into a VIP room and instructed her to entertain a Filipino customer. The customer sexually assaulted her and then gave her thirty dollars for her effort and left. Ms. Serapion said that in October she paired with Ms. Batiancila to entertain Yamasang and his friends in a private room. During that session she witnessed Ms. Batiancila having sexual intercourse with Yamasang.
A third witness interviewed for this case is Ms. Winniely Marcelino, another Phillipine national. She started working at ATT in April 2013 and like the two previous witnesses, on her first night she saw another waitress, specifically Ms. Batiancila, kissing a customer and allowing him to fondle her. A month later Ms. Marcelino entertained four Japanese guests in the VIP room with Ms. Batiancila and two other waitresses. Ms. Marcelino specified that she masturbated while Ms. Batiancila and the other two waitresses performed oral sex on the Japanese customers. Two months later Ms. Marcelino indicated that she and Ms. Batiancila entertained Yamasang and his friend in a VIP room. Ms. Marcelino said that she could see Ms. Batiancila and Yamasang having sex and that they had sex a total of four times that night. Ms. Marcelino once went into a VIP room with Gov. Shmull and Ms. Batiancila and watched them kiss then go into the bathroom. On a separate occasion she claims that Gov. Shmull asked her to perform oral sex but when she refused he ordered her to leave the VIP room.
Besides Governor Shmull, other people facing criminal charges in a separate case but related to the ATT bar and disco scandal are Jeryl Blas, a local sponsor of the said establishment who’s also referred to as “mamasang”, Haruo Esang, a prominent local businessman and Mary Grace Baconga, the ATT Manager. Jeryl Blas is also accused of locking the waitresses in the barracks and holding the key to the padlock of the only door to the barracks.
Governor Shmull and Batiancila are due back in Court in February 2014 for the plea trial setting conference. This is second largest human trafficking and prostitution case filed in Palau following the Shagri-La case also filed under the Remengesau administration.