Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo is optimistic that by next year the CNMI will have its first elected attorney general who can say “no” to any illegal acts the governor may ask him to do.
During the sentencing of former AG Edward T. Buckingham on public corruption charges on Wednesday, Govendo said it is exceptionally difficult for an appointed AG to say no to the governor.
In fact, the judge said, he only remembers one CNMI AG who disagreed with the governor, but subsequently resigned. He did not disclose the name of that former AG.
Govendo said the new elected AG should realize that he is the attorney for the people of the CNMI and not just for the governor.
He said he proposed the idea of having an elected AG in ’90s but nobody listened to him.
He said that Guam initially had problems with an elected AG, but now “it appears they’re going well.”
“I’m hoping that the CNMI will follow the same direction,” he said.
The CNMI AG has always been a governor-appointed position. In 2012, voters ratified a legislative initiative to make the AG post an elected position.