The Senate confirmed yesterday the appointment of Edward M. Deleon Guerrero as Department of Commerce secretary, as well as the appointment of Isidro K. Seman as a member of the board of directors of the Commonwealth Economic Development Authority.
All nine senators voted “yes” to adopt the report of the Senate Committee on Executive Appointments & Government Investigations that recommended the confirmation of the executive appointments of Deleon Guerrero and Seman.
EAGI Committee chair Sen. Francisco Q. Cruz (R-Tinian) said the committee examined all pertinent documents related to the executive appointment of Deleon Guerrerro’s and Seman’s overall credentials to serve as Commerce secretary and CEDA director representing Saipan, respectively.
Last month, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres signed into law the bill that renames the Commonwealth Development Authority into the Commonwealth Economic Development Authority, and tasked it with the duty of promoting the CNMI as an investment destination in a bid to diversity its economy.
Cruz said that, based on the overall assessment of Deleon Guerrero’s and Seman’s credentials, experiences, testimonies, and other relevant issues to consider, the committee is convinced that both have the qualifications and leadership skills necessary for their positions.
Deleon Guerrero said in a later interview that he looks forward to working with his staff and all the other departments and business community in the CNMI to ensure that they move forward in improving the economy and providing the best services to the business community and the community as a whole.
Deleon Guerrero thanked the Senate for having the confidence to confirm him.
Deleon Guerrero was the corporate registry director when Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios appointed him to serve as Commerce secretary.
Last March 28, Mark O. Rabauliman resigned as Commerce secretary. He is now director of Economic Development within the Department of Commerce.
Seman said in an interview that his priority is to stimulate the economy because that’s basically what he’s appointed for. “I’ll do my best to serve the people,” said Seman.
With respect to Deleon Guerrero’s appointment, Sen. Teresita A. Santos (Ind-Rota) said although she is not a member of EAGI Committee, she read the committee’s report that consolidated what transpired during the public hearings on all the senatorial districts.
Santos said she was particularly impressed with the question-and-answer portion. “Your responses to the questions were on point. They were reasonable and acceptable,” the senator said.
Santos said there were some issues and concerns that were raised, but they are confident that Deleon Guerrero will be able to adjust them in time.
On Seman’s appointment, Santos said there were issues and concerns raised during the public hearing but she admired his opening statement where he said that, CEDA must be given the proper tools in order for the agency to effectively carry out its mandates. If it has that, then CEDA can and will play a pivotal role to shift the CNMI’s economy into other industries relevant to today’s global economy.
“We trust that you do possess the necessary skills, creativity and leadership as you have ample work experiences in both the government and private sectors,” Santos said.
Sen. Edith E. DeLeon Guerrero (D-Saipan) said she and Seman worked together for many years. “I truly do know your desire to make it better for our Commonwealth,” the senator told Seman.
DeLeon Guerrero said she looks forward to CEDA that being a much more proactive unit of government.