The chairman of the so-called Independent Republicans, Sen. Pete Reyes (Ind-Saipan), said yesterday he supports the gubernatorial candidacy of Gov. Eloy S. Inos under the Republican Party, as well as the re-election of Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) in the November race.
Reyes, however, pointed out that his support for these candidates is his own and does not represent the position of the entire IR, which is split in the candidates they want to support in the upcoming general elections.
“I am committed to supporting the governor’s candidacy,” Reyes told Saipan Tribune. “I am also in full support of Kilili.”
The IR team is not fielding candidates for governor and delegate, but has candidates for members of the Legislature.
Reyes said even if the governor’s Republican Party will have its own delegate candidate, he will still be supporting Sablan.
“I certainly hope the GOP will not field a delegate candidate. Again, that’s just my own opinion,” said Reyes.
One of the names floating around for the GOP’s delegate candidate is Joeten-Kiyu Public Library executive director John Oliver “Bolis” Gonzales, although he neither confirmed nor denied this Monday afternoon. The Republican Party has set a new deadline of Feb. 21 for submission of letters of intent to run in the November polls.
Last year, the Covenant Party said it will continue to endorse Sablan for delegate. But that was prior to the Covenant Party merging with the Republican Party. At the time, Inos was the titular head of the Covenant Party.
Reyes and former lieutenant governor and former speaker Diego Benavente, along with others, formed the IR team when former governor Benigno R. Fitial took over the Republican Party.
The IRs became a formidable force during the impeachment process against Fitial, the first governor of any U.S. territory to be impeached by the House of Representatives for corruption, neglect of duty, and felony. Fitial resigned on Feb. 20, 2013, just days before the start of his impeachment trial at the CNMI Senate.
Most of those in the current House leadership are members of the IR team, including Speaker Joe Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan), the main author of the impeachment resolutions.