Gov. Benigno R. Fitial nominated on Friday Superior Court Associate Judge Perry B. Inos to serve as associate justice of the NMI Supreme Court, three days after the governor also nominated Sgt. James C. Deleon Guerrero to serve as Department of Public Safety commissioner.
Fitial's appointments come at a time when a special committee is reviewing a resolution impeaching the governor for 18 articles of corruption, felony, and neglect of duty, including his failure to timely appoint a Supreme Court chief justice and DPS commissioner.
Inos' nomination requires the advice and consent of the Senate.
Senate President Jude Hofschneider (R-Tinian) said yesterday that his office has yet to receive Inos' appointment letter.
If confirmed by the Senate, Inos will fill the vacancy that resulted in the elevation of then Justice Alexandro Castro to the position of chief justice.
"Throughout his legal career, Judge Inos has long demonstrated a steadfast commitment to public service. The lieutenant governor and I are confident he will serve all our people with distinction from the NMI Supreme Court bench," the governor said in a statement Friday.
The justice nominee is the nephew of Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos.
Saipan Tribune learned during the weekend, however, that the lieutenant governor didn't know about the nomination until after the nomination letter came out.
Speaker Joseph Deleon Guerrero (IR-Saipan), in an interview at a Saipan Chamber of Commerce event on Saturday, said he welcomes the governor's nominations for Senate consideration but he said these won't change the ongoing impeachment proceedings.
He said he finds it “interesting” that within days, the governor has been making the appointments he should have done a long time ago.
“Does it look like reactionary? I am happy that he has appointed people to important positions, including Attorney General JP San Nicolas, a justice and a DPS commissioner. But did it take an impeachment resolution for him to do that? Why did it take him so long to appoint?” the speaker asked.
The governor, in a statement late Friday afternoon, expressed his deep appreciation for Inos’ willingness to serve the CNMI in a new capacity.
He noted that “there is no doubt that Judge Inos is the right person, with the right acumen, to join Chief Justice Castro and Associate Justice John Manglona in carrying out the duties of the Supreme Court with utmost impartiality and in good conscience.”
“Judge Inos has demonstrated an upstanding record in his years as an attorney and in his capacity as a Superior Court Judge,” Fitial said. “The recent results of his retention election prove that he is indeed ethical, hardworking, and an advocate for fairness in the courtroom."