As expected, senators yesterday overwhelmingly approved 11 new appointments made by Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio, including two Cabinet officials who were the last to be designated to complete the administration roster after nearly a year in office.
With a vote of 8-0, the Senate confirmed the nominations of Frank B. Villanueva and John B. Cepeda to the Commerce and Public Works departments, respectively, in yet another swift process that has marked the Tenorio administration since day one.
Aside from the two top posts, other newly appointed officials confirmed in a session yesterday included:
•Sonya Pangelinan, member of the Board of Professional Licensing;
•Vincent J. Seman, Northern Marianas College Board of Regent;
•Francisco Guerrero and Raynaldo M. Cing, board directors of the Commonwealth Ports Authority for Saipan and Tinian, respectively;
•Carmen DLC Farrell, Jose L. Itibus and Matthew Masga, Board of Elections members;
•Eugene Santos and Jesus T. Aldan, members of Civil Service Commission.
The batch is the latest appointments made by Tenorio who submitted their names last week for Senate confirmation.
Villanueva and Cepeda were the last two appointments made by Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio to complete his Cabinet after almost a year in office.
Cepeda has been the acting secretary of the Department of Public Works since the local chief executive assumed office last January. Villanueva, on the other hand, is a certified public accountant who was a surprise nominee as Commerce secretary despite a pool of qualified people in the department.
Prior to his nomination, he was an accountant for the Micronesian Telecommunications Corporation where he is responsible for the $100 million capital investments of the island’s lone phone company.
Almost all of the governor’s appointees have been overwhelmingly approved by the nine-member Senate except acting Attorney General Maya B. Kara whose nomination had been bypassed twice by the body due to allegations of conflict of interest.
Although withdrawn by Tenorio, Kara’s appointment may be decided by the Senate to force the local chief executive to replace his AG nominee.
Sen. David M. Cing, chair of the Senate committee on Executive Appointments and Governmental Investigations, earlier had underscored the need for the new appointees to adhere to the current austerity policy in light of the worsening budgetary crisis.