So much negativity has been said on social media about my personal decision to endorse the Torres/Sablan gubernatorial candidacy for the runoff election. Certain members of my former party mates even accused me of stealing and lying.
So, let me address these two very libelous issues before my lawyer files our civil lawsuit. First off, I never steal anything from anyone. The individual who claims otherwise and continues to spread this malicious allegation should take the appropriate action by filing a complaint to proper authorities for legal disposition. My lawyer will withhold filing the civil defamation lawsuit until after proper authorities receive the complaint and a thorough investigation is done. At the advice of my lawyer this will be the only time I will address the stealing claim.
As to the claim that I lied to anyone about my personal decision and my choice to pursue a different fundamental belief—the economic advancement of NMDs—is completely erroneous. Let me be distinctively cIear. I did not switch political party. I switched my personal priority and passion. I made this decision openly known to the members of the Central Executive Committee of the Democratic Party. Nothing was hidden, I clearly expressed it out in my retirement letter to the chairman of the party.
On the contrary, I took the appropriate and proper way of informing my former chairman and members of the Central Executive Committee of the Democratic Party of my decision to end my membership after 52 years of loyalty and devotion. I did so through a letter I personally delivered to the chairman during the special meeting of the Central Executive Members on Nov. 12, 2022.
It was during that meeting that I asked for a “privilege,” of which I was granted, to read my letter in front of all the members present. When I finished, I also informed them that I plan on having a press conference that same day. The press conference idea wasn’t well received by some members, and I was asked to delay it until after the election. As a compromise I agreed not to have it on that Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022.
My separation from the Democratic Party would allow me to pick up on my advocacy for the economic advancement of NMDs, a passion I have been advocating ever since. This pursuit was also made clear in my letter to the Party. I even mentioned how I am going to determine who to support in the runoff election.
To have a better perspective on what was the trepidation by some are all about, I am including the complete text of my letter to the chairman of the Democratic Party for illustrative context. Read below:
• • •
Dear Chairman Cabrera:
This is to officially inform you that my membership in the Democratic Party of the Northern Mariana Islands, Inc., after more than 52 years of devotion to a trailblazing political organization, will end today. I began my membership in this Party since I was 16 years old and have been personally enriched by my association in this incredible and dignified political organization, and while election victory has not come our way often enough, nevertheless, I have no regrets.
My devotion to the Democratic Party, a partisan political organization, and my passion in advancing the economic interests of Northern Marianas Decent, has regrettably suffered. My loyalty to the Democratic Party put a constraint on my advocacy and in the end, I wasn’t effective enough in achieving my desired outcome due in part to possible political infringement. Furthermore, I do not wish to impugn the integrity of our Party by concurrently advancing the economic interests.
To fully and actively pursue my passion in advancing the economic interests of NMDs, it is best that I retire from my membership in the Democratic Party now. I want to be free and fully engaged in negotiating with any leaders, including Gov. Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold Palacios, on who will put the economic interests of NMDs a top priority and can deliver tangible results for our people. This passion transcends political interest or association.
I have specific and implementable ideas, how as beneficiaries of MPLT our people can receive direct or indirect financial assistance before political leaders make it insolvent, and likely suffer the same fate as the Retirement Fund.
Additionally, Article 11, Section 1 of our Constitution specifically and unambiguously states that “all public lands in the CNMI collectively belong to Chamorro and Carolinians who are considered Northern Marianas descent.” I want to exploit the legal and practical application of this provision because this could be a gamechanger in advancing the economic survival of generations of NMDs.
To you, the officers, members of the Central Executive Committee, elected officials, aspiring candidates and supporters of the Party, I personally wish you all nothing but the very best in moving the Democratic Party forward.
My many years of active engagement in our Party will be a treasured colossal excerpt of intellectual, political and social enrichment that will be forever personalized. It was an amazing personal experience.
So, in the words of Geoffrey Chaucer, who is credited with this idiom, “all good things must come to an end.”
Finally, since I will no longer owe my allegiance to the Democratic Party, I am now free to explore possibilities in the world of politics, whichever way it takes me and to whom it could make it happen in achieving economic independence for MNDs. Thank you and God blessed you all.
• • •
My letter was explicit, and nothing was deceitful about my endorsement of the Torres/Sablan gubernatorial ticket. It was based on their commitment to the “economic advancement of NMDs” and their specific plan in achieving it.
As to the claim of being a hypocrite for my previous op-eds that were highly critical of Gov. Torres in the local papers. let me just say this: When the citizenry of the Commonwealth, in exercising their constitutional right to vote in a fair and open election, made their choice deliberately and consciously known, no matter how displeasing or repugnant that choice was, it must be respected and accepted. I respected and accepted the outcome of the primary election; there is nothing hypocritical about my decision and personal choice.
Democracy at times seems incongruous with popular desire but always, especially in politics, majority rules and in the primary election, Gov. Torres secures the majority will of the voters. Despite and in spite of what I said about him, the FBI, House impeachment and attorney general criminal complaint, the citizens of the Commonwealth, knowing all these issues before the election, freely voted for him nevertheless. In the end, not even the courts can overturn the choice of the people and the outcome was inevitably certain. As far as I am concerned and unless proven otherwise, Torres/Sablan won the election fair and square.
I worked my butt off and put in extra hours of my time to get Tina and Leila elected in the primary election, but the people of the Commonwealth rejected the platform of change that they so eloquently articulated. Disappointingly we lost.
And so, with renewed dedication I am moving forward with a different passion to continue advocating for a belief so dear to me, much more so than my political association: the economic advancement of all Northern Marianas descent.
Daniel O. Quitugua
Kannat Tabla, Saipan