Senators accepted yesterday Sen. Juan M. Ayuyu’s (Ind-Rota) resignation as a member of the 18th Senate, which now takes effect Sept. 30 instead of the original date of Oct. 7, while awaiting his November sentencing in connection with smuggling endangered fruit bats from Rota to Saipan and obstruction of justice.
Ayuyu, 48, faces 33 to 41 months in prison.
He is the first lawmaker in the 18th Legislature to step down from office.
His term as senator ends in January 2015, way before the end of his possible prison term.
Ayuyu visited the Senate yesterday morning and met with some of his colleagues, including Senate President Ralph Torres (R-Saipan) and Rules and Procedures Committee chair Victor Hocog (R-Rota) to discuss his resignation.
The outgoing senator, however, didn’t attend yesterday afternoon’s session wherein his colleagues accepted his resignation.
At the session, Hocog answered senators’ questions about the reason for Ayuyu’s new effective date of resignation.
Sept. 30 is the last day of fiscal year 2013. Hocog said between now and Sept. 30, Ayuyu will have ample time to take care of his government affairs, including the turnover of government properties and wrapping up senatorial district matters.
“In other words, he said he will take care of his accountability matters because he doesn’t want the government to run after him later on about these matters,” Hocog said.
Ayuyu was in jail since Dec. 17, 2012, and was only recently allowed temporary release while awaiting sentencing.
He submitted his one-page resignation letter addressed to the Senate president on Aug. 21, the day when the Rules and Procedures Committee was poised to recommend his expulsion if he didn’t submit a resignation letter.
“I would like to thank all members of the 17th and 18th Legislatures for the cooperation and support I have received. It was an honor to serve alongside all members of this Legislature,” Ayuyu said in his Aug. 21 letter, an actual copy of which was shared with the media only yesterday.
Right now, the Legislature and the administration are awaiting the court’s decision on a certified question as to who will fill the Senate vacancy once Ayuyu’s resignation takes effect.
The court answer to that certified question would resolve the issue of whether Gov. Eloy S. Inos should appoint the next vote getter among Rota senatorial candidates in the 2009 or 2012 elections, should a Rota senatorial seat becomes vacant.