Absence of a mandate


After an election, most folks have an idea who won the contest. Analysts pull their calculators crunching numbers to figure out percentage points garnered to determine if in fact the leading candidate has secured the “mandate” of the people.

In viewing the issue from the standpoint of the “people’s mandate” one doesn’t exist given the political expediency with which the issue was exploited or ignored here.

From the outset, the NMI erred on the ascendancy issue when former lieutenant governor Tim Villagomez stepped down in recent years. Convicted former governor Benigno Fitial appointed the late Eulogio Inos as his lieutenant. Such action completely ignored constitutionally provided ascendancy of the Senate president. Fitial trashed this provision of the constitution.

Ascendancy occurred while the requirement to call for a special election was ignored. There’s a consistent acquiescence of constitutional violations. Isn’t legal impropriety obvious in this case? Could constitutional legal eagles please help me understand it once and for all?

Fitial resigned before his court adjudicated conviction. The late Inos moved up as “acting” governor, while then-Senate president Jude Hofschneider ascended second in command. Inos also failed calling for a special election. When he died, Ralph DLG Torres, who was his running mate when he won as governor, moved up as “acting” governor and he too failed to call for a special election. Nobody cared about the constitutional requirement after ascendancy. The boys drooling for greed and power resorted to histrionics.

No mandate: Guess what? We now have two people at the helm governing without a mandate from “we the people.” In the absence of a mandate how would the alleged governor and lieutenant governor know the instructions of the majority of the people? Circumstance piled by ignoring the mandates of the constitution for a special election isn’t a mandate but another legal impropriety. A disputable legal opinion from the AG isn’t a mandate either!

Definitely, “mandate” is not a legal term nor is it just a figment of political rhetoric. None of the two shipwrecks ever won a mandate nor did the ascendancy ignoring the call for a special election an excuse to lamely claim one. A vacuous mandate is what the NMI has that ignores the right of “we the people” to be heard in terms of instructions relating to their concerns. Unless a mandated is under your belt, there’s no room to work on policies to adhere to the will of the people.

The book “Presidential Mandates” discusses how elections shape policies. The author Patricia Conley writes, “Mandates imply that politicians receive direction from the voters who elected them…” Were Torres and Hokog elected?

A mandate is a command given by the voters that basically tells you of their problems and concerns. “Knowledge, in this context, would have to assume a deep understanding of the reasoning that went into every vote…” But without a mandate how do you govern in a vacuum?

In our case Torres and Hokog were never elected but superficially ascended into a post that definitely requires a mandate from “we the people”. When do we ever learn?

Protecting self-government
Recently, I used the Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution to reflect what essentially would be the work product of the 902 Entourage. It’s supposed to deal with the application or non-application of federal laws in the NMI provided the U.S. Congress approves it. Perhaps my explanation was blurred. Sorry!

While the 902 may be well intentioned, it’s also the longest path to guarding against the unintended violation of self-government here. Thus the need to push for the application of the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to guard the feds from any arbitrary imposition of destructive policies.

In short, what authority isn’t granted the feds by the NMI is solely the NMI’s. This provision would shrink its tentacles to D.C. only. This paradigm makes sense and eliminates the need for unnecessary legal feud. A good example is Mr. O’s transgender or Toiletarian Authority that infringes and forces states to build a third restroom or dictation from Queen Michelle on food for our children. Neither of these folks is paying for it thus a matter only the states could decide. Obama would leave behind a legacy of intrusion!

The benefits of the Tenth Amendment are significant. It grants the NMI the opportunity to building strong governance. And the only way to do it is from the standpoint of greater role in self-government. The old colonial mindset of dictation is already outmoded. It may be unprecedented (protection under the 10th Amendment) but we should encourage Kilili to venture its introduction. The long-term benefits are greater!

Though political maturity has gone past its embryonic stage it would eventually take a strong hold among the voters. I’ve seen how they booted an entire legislature in recent past and the impeachment of a governor who was subsequently convicted of fiduciary failure. Let the process take its permanent seat among the voters. After all, it’s all about “we the people.”

Lighter side: The 902 DC trip comically started with worries about what blazers, ties and high heels to wear to impress the other side that we’re up to par with our wardrobes. Don’t you think DC knows that we still shop at Sears and Roebuck or JC Penny for our ties, high heels and blazers?

Anyway, how does the indigenous people benefit from this trip when it focuses on providing more jobs for foreigners? Isn’t Uncle Sam showing us how disoriented we are in terms of need we’ve never seen fit to plan for? You failed the future multi-financial assistance issue. How then do we pay for the emplacement of direly needed basic infrastructure?

John S. Del Rosario Jr. | Contributing Author
John DelRosario Jr. is a former publisher of the Saipan Tribune and a former secretary of the Department of Public Lands.

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