At least four resolutions introduced or adopted yesterday at the House and Senate have taken contrasting positions on the tentatively approved NMI Retirement Fund settlement agreement, barely days before the court’s Sept. 30 final decision.
At 5:14pm, the House adopted by a vote of 15-5 Speaker Joseph Deleon Guerrero’s (Ind-Saipan) joint resolution acknowledging and approving the settlement deal in Johnson v. Inos as required for the final disbursement of employee contributions under the agreement’s Section 12.0 and 34.0.
The five that voted “no” to the speaker’s House Joint Resolution 18-10 were Reps. Janet Maratita (Ind-Saipan), Richard Seman (R-Saipan), Ray Tebuteb (Ind-Saipan), Ralph Yumul (Ind-Saipan), and Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan).
Four of them are co-authors of a separate House Resolution 18-35 urging Gov. Eloy S. Inos to reconsider and withdraw the settlement deal.
HR 18-35, whose main author is Maratita, was referred instead to the Special Committee on Retirement Fund. The co-authors were Tebuteb, Yumul, Larry Deleon Guerrero, and Rep. Roman C. Benavente (Ind-Saipan).
Maratita spoke during introduction of HR 18-35, repeating her warning that pursuing the settlement agreement terms that violate Article 10 Section 3 and Article 3 Sections 9 and 20 of the NMI Constitution constitutes the impeachable offense of “neglect of duty.”
An hour earlier or at 4:06pm, senators adopted a Senate resolution expressing support for retirees who opted out of the settlement agreement.
As of Friday, only 16 opted out, including two lawmakers—Senate floor leader Ray Yumul (Ind-Saipan) and Rep. Ray Tebuteb (Ind-Saipan).
But minutes later or at 4:14pm, the Senate also adopted a House joint resolution requesting the governor to object to over $40 million in attorney’s fees proposed by plaintiff Johnson’s lawyers.