Election panel has no chairperson, 3 commissioner positions vacant


The Commonwealth Election Commission has no chairperson and three other commissioner positions for Saipan and Northern Islands are vacant.

CEC executive director Julita Villagomez said yesterday that the term of former chairperson Frances M. Sablan expired last Aug. 8, along with the term of Saipan commissioner Trinidad Rabauliman.

Both Sablan and Rabauliman represented Saipan and the Northern Islands.

This left the commission with four vacant commissioners, all representing Saipan and the Northern Islands, Villagomez said.

She and CEC administrative officer Kayla Igitol met with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres last week, during which they informed the governor about the lack of a chairperson and three other vacancies at the commission.

The governor reportedly assured them that he would look into it and fill up the vacancies.

At present, the Commonwealth Election Commission has five commissioners: Jesus I. Sablan for Saipan and the Northern Islands, Donald Hofschneider and Joseph E. Santos for Tinian and Aguiguan, and Leilani Manglona and Esther Yatar for Rota.

Each commissioner has a four-year term and requires Senate’s confirmation.

Villagomez said that Jesus I. Sablan called for a board meeting for Tuesday, Sept. 26, at the CEC office in Susupe at 10am. At the meeting, the commissioners may select who shall serve as pro tem chair and pro tem vice chair.

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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