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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Governor, GOP officers OK Rota party officials

Senate vice president Victor Hocog (R-Rota) is now the Rota chairman for the Republican Party, after the party’s titular head Gov. Eloy S. Inos and others from Saipan flew to Rota during the weekend to formally recognize the islands’ officers.

However, the Republican Party of the Northern Mariana Islands Association has yet to elect a new overall chairman to replace Joaquin “Jack” P. Villagomez, who resigned on Dec. 6 for “health reasons.”

In an interview yesterday, Hocog said the other Rota officers for the GOP are party vice chair Albert Taitano, secretary Vivian O. Hocog, and treasurer Vanessa Charfauros.

“The governor and other GOP officials and board members went to Rota on Saturday to meet with the interim officers and to officially sanction or recognize them,” Hocog told Saipan Tribune.

As of yesterday, however, Hocog said they have yet to decide on the GOP’s official 2014 candidates on Rota.

“There’s a Feb. 7 deadline for anyone who wishes to submit their intention to run under the GOP on Rota. Only after that can we decide the official candidates,” he said.

Hocog said besides the governor, also on Rota during the weekend were second vice chair Jess Aldan, secretary William Villagomez, and treasurer Ed C. Deleon Guerrero.

The GOP’s general membership meeting, meanwhile, has yet to be announced.

Inos, in an interview last week, said the GOP cannot afford to not have a chairman on an election year.

He said a general membership meeting will be called soon to elect a new chairman. GOP first vice president Marianne Teregeyo is the acting president until a new president is named.

Villagomez stepped down as GOP chairman barely four months after he was elected to the post on July 31.

But it was under Villagomez’s four-month leadership that the CNMI’s political landscape changed with the merger of the Republican Party and the Covenant Party, and the selection of Inos and Senate President Ralph Torres (R-Saipan) as the GOP’s gubernatorial team in 2014.

Villagomez replaced former governor Benigno R. Fitial as Republican Party chairman. Fitial resigned as CNMI governor days before the start of his impeachment trial at the Senate.

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