Dear House Speaker Eliceo D. Cabrera: I understand from reading House Legislative Initiative 17-3 that the House would like to change certain Sections of Article 12 of the CNMI Constitution. This initiative, if passed, will reduce the blood quantum requirement of an NMD to “.a certain degree or at least 1 percent.”
An integral part of the proposed amendment requires the involvement of the Superior Court: “..in order to legally provide that a person who has less than one-quarter Northern Marianas descent blood and who is a citizen or national of the United States shall be deemed a bona fide person of Northern Marianas descent for all purposes under Article 12, upon providing evidence to the Superior Court.
The above provision will become problematic not only to the Superior Court but also to a large number of citizens whose ancestors and parents are not NMD. Over the decades we have witnessed many non-NMD's marrying NMD's. We have a large number of students who graduate from high schools and have gone abroad (mostly to the United States) to gain higher education. Some of these young men and women would marry someone they meet while away from the CNMI. Generations down the line, they will be required to hire a lawyer, go to the Superior Court just to prove that he or she is NMD. We can look around and see a number of non-NMD's marrying NMD's. Who knows, maybe the Superior Court might require the involvement of the hospital to provide for evidential proof that the person who purports to be the owner of a property in the CNMI is in fact an NMD. Cumbersome!
While I personally appreciate the effort of our political leaders I feel that any proposal short of a complete repeal of Article 12 is delaying the inevitable. We must be cognizant of the fact that our people are intelligent and know exactly what they want in life. We are talking about privately owned land. We are undermining the integrity and intelligence of our people. We seem to be telling the private landowners that they are not capable of handling their own affairs. We must not continue to be “paternalistic” to the landowners.
We all know that many of our landowners today want to reign over their private property. Why are we afraid to let them manage their private land? Returning the unilateral right to every landowner is the correct way. Please pass an initiative to repeal Article 12 in its entirely and let us move on with our lives.
David M. Sablan Sr.