Gov. Eloy S. Inos said he was hoping the CNMI Bar Association would give a better rating for his Superior Court associate judge nominee, Teresa Kim-Tenorio, but he is nevertheless thankful that there’s one less hurdle to overcome as he awaits Senate confirmation of the nominee.
“I was hoping it was ‘good’ and not [only] ‘acceptable’ [rating],” the governor told reporters.
Kim-Tenorio received ratings of between “3” and “3.81” on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being “unacceptable” and 5 as being “excellent.”
These were much better than the failing ratings given by the Bar Association to the governor’s previous nominee to the post, attorney Ray K. Quichocho.
The judge nominee received a rating of 3 for experience; 3.63 for integrity; 3.48 for professional competence; 3.41 for judicial temperament; and 3.81 for service to the law and contribution to the effective administration of justice.
Despite his disappointment, the governor said he’s glad that at least the nominee can move to the next step after receiving an evaluation from the Bar Association.
The Senate Committee on Executive Appointments and Government Investigations has yet to schedule a public hearing on Kim-Tenorio’s and three others’ nominations.
The governor, at the same time, said he would like to wait for a Supreme Court decision on a certified question before appointing a replacement for Juan M. Ayuyu, who resigned as a member of the 18th Senate pending his court sentencing.
Ayuyu, 48, faces 33 to 41 months in prison in connection with smuggling endangered fruit bats from Rota to Saipan and obstruction of justice.
The court’s answer to a certified question would resolve the issue whether the governor should appoint the next vote getter among Rota senatorial candidates in the 2009 or 2012 elections.
The governor said he does not expect the court decision to drag on any longer.
Attorney General Joey Patrick San Nicolas, in a March 15, 2013, legal opinion, said if Ayuyu is convicted and a vacancy in the Senate exists, that vacancy will be filled by Joey Anthony Quitugua. But just the same, the governor wants a court decision on a certified question before making his own move.
Senate Vice President Victor Hocog (R-Rota) reiterated last week that, as chairman of the Rules and Procedures Committee, he would like the vacancy to be filled immediately.