Associate justice Manglona, judges Naraja, Govendo seek retention


Associate Justice John A. Manglona, Presiding Judge Robert C. Naraja, and Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo have all submitted their intention to seek retention election this November.

Commonwealth Election Commission executive director Robert A. Guerrero confirmed with the Saipan Tribune yesterday that Manglona, will be placed on the ballot as candidate for retention as associate justice of the CNMI Supreme Court.

Guerrero said Naraja and Govendo will also be placed on the ballot for the retention as presiding judge and associate judge respectively of the Superior Court.

Guerrero said Manglona, Naraja and Govendo had submitted letters of their intent to seek retention, although under the CNMI Constitution, justices and judges who want to be retained to the bench are not required to do so (submission).

Under a constitutional amendment, the question of whether justices or judges will be retained shall be put to a vote at a general election immediately before the end of that justice’s or judge’s initial term of office.

In his letter to Guerrero, Associate Justice Manglona said given another opportunity to serve, he will continue with his mission to give the people equal access to justice and fair application of the rule of law.

“I have been serving the judiciary and the people of the Northern Mariana Islands for the past 16 years with a deep dedication to providing everyone with an impartial and effective administration of justice,” Manglona said.

Naraja is seeking a third term as presiding judge.

Naraja said it is his sincerest desire to continue to develop the interests of justice through the very unique role of the Judiciary.

“I have endeavored and will continue to endeavor to serve the Commonwealth in a manner that upholds the integrity and the dignity of the court, while continuing to improve the objectives and standards of the Judiciary toward court excellence,” he said.

With over 10 years of experience, Naraja said he will continually strive to maintain fairness, humility, and sensitivity in the administration of justice.

“These are qualities that are extremely and inherently important to the administration of justice. It is my hope that, with the people’s consideration, I may ultimately continue in my honorable position and serve the Commonwealth for another term,” Naraja said.

In his three-sentence letter to Guerrero, Govendo advised the Board of Elections of his intent to be placed on the ballot. He did not mention about his service to the Judiciary.

Then-governor Pedro P. Tenorio appointed in April 2000 then Superior Court associate judge Manglona as associate justice. He was sworn in in June 2000 in the three-seat CNMI Supreme Court.

Then-governor Pedro P. Tenorio appointed Naraja in November 2001 as associate judge. Two years later, then-governor Juan N. Babauta appointed Naraja as presiding judge.

Babauta appointed Govendo as associate judge in 2003.

In November 2007, voters overwhelmingly voted for the retention of Manglona, Naraja, and Govendo.

With their retention in 2007, Manglona’s term that expired in 2008 was extended for eight more years, while judges Naraja and Govendo, whose terms expired in 2009, received additional six years.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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