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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Senate panel on impeachment may tap current, retired judges

Senate Special Committee on Impeachment chair Ralph Torres (R-Saipan) said yesterday that the panel, whose members will be appointed today, may seek assistance from current and retired judges to help facilitate the proceedings if the resolution impeaching Gov. Benigno R. Fitial moves to the Senate for trial.

As of yesterday, there was no telling yet whether the governor will seek private legal counsel or use the Office of the Attorney General to represent him during the trial.

If and when the House succeeds in getting at least 14 “yes” votes to adopt the resolution impeaching Fitial for 18 allegations of corruption, felony, and neglect of duty, the process moves to the Senate for trial.

Press secretary Angel Demapan said he has yet to discuss with the governor this matter about legal representation.

Torres, the current Senate vice president, said that the formulation of the special committee rules will be done with the assistance of the Senate legal counsel and possibly, a private counsel.

“We will set the rules and once that is adopted by the whole Senate, we may give the governor two weeks to prepare for the actual trial,” Torres told Saipan Tribune.

He added that the special committee will have three to five members, including him as chairman.

The full House will hold a session on Monday, wherein they will vote on the impeachment resolution.

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