Babauta: Panel to probe Torres a ‘wonderful holiday gift’ to CNMI

Posted on Dec 30 2019


Rep. Sheila Babauta (Ind-Saipan) talks about her experience at the 2019 Obama Foundation Leaders: Asia Pacific Program, and relating it to the issues the CNMI is facing, at a House session on Capital Hill.

Fresh from the 2019 Obama Foundation leadership program in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Rep. Sheila Babauta (Ind-Saipan) appealed at the House of Representatives session last Dec. 20 to give the CNMI a gift this holiday season with the appointment of a special committee that would look into allegations of corruption by Gov. Ralph DLG Torres.

“The formation of a special committee would be a wonderful gift to the CNMI this holiday season, and the report and recommendations on how we can really get to the center of our issues and just really do our part to contribute is what I’d like for all of us to support,” Babauta said.

“I’m a proud daughter of the Marianas,” Babauta added, addressing her fellow representatives. “I want what’s best, as I know we all do, for the CNMI. We want to leave this place better than we found it and it’s doable. We can really do it.”

The House minority bloc, of which Babauta is a member, asked House Speaker Blas Jonathan Attao (R-Saipan) in early December to appoint a special committee to investigate allegations of public corruption, fraud, waste, and abuse of public funds by the governor.

At the Obama Foundation leaders program, Babauta met with leaders from countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, and Myanmar, where the populations are in the 50-plus millions, and are experiencing turmoil, government conflicts, and military interference that are more troubling.

“When I say I come from the CNMI, where it’s 55,000 people, it seems very doable. It seems hopeful that we can overcome a lot of the challenges that we face if we just really come together,” Babauta said.

She added that it was very troubling to speak to other leaders in the Asia Pacific about what is happening in the CNMI “…we hear words [in the newspapers and social media] like disrespect and corruption and abuse of powers and misuse of public funds…”

Babauta, along with Samantha Birmingham-Babauta, represented the CNMI at the Obama Foundation Leaders program where they got to talk to former U.S. president Barack Obama.

Iva Maurin | Correspondent
Iva Maurin is a communications specialist with environment and community outreach experience in the Philippines and in California. She has a background in graphic arts and is the Saipan Tribune’s community and environment reporter. Contact her at

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