All eyes on Senate whether it allows Yumul to sit at Thursday’s session


All eyes would be on the Senate whether it allows independent lieutenant governor candidate Ray Yumul to sit and participate in their regular session on Thursday, despite what senators acknowledged as Yumul’s violation of the constitution by not resigning as a senator upon the August 13 certification of his candidacy in the Nov. 4 general elections.

Yumul also pre-filed a resolution commending an individual for a faithful service to the community on Aug. 15, the supposed “effective date” of his “personal leave” as per his Aug. 12 memo.

Senate President Ralph Torres (R-Saipan) said as of yesterday, they have not received a resignation letter from Yumul.

Sen. Pete Reyes (Ind-Saipan) reiterated his call yesterday for Yumul to “do the right thing.”

Yumul’s standing at the Senate has been drawing reaction from the public, since this newspaper carried the story on Friday. Some community members said the Senate itself should do the right thing.

The Senate Rules and Procedures Committee, which Senate vice president Victor Hocog (R-Rota) heads, has yet to come up with a written recommendation to the full body as to Yumul’s standing at the Senate.

“The Constitution takes precedence over politics,” Hocog said.

Article 8 Section 5 of the NMI Constitution reads, “Resignation from Public Office. An elected public official shall resign from office upon certification to be a candidate for another public office, if the term of the office sought begins before the end of the term of the office held.”

An earlier plan to hold a special session today has been scrapped. The Senate will proceed with its regular session scheduled for Thursday at 2pm.

Yumul, who was elected senator in 2012, has been a certified independent candidate for lieutenant governor since Wednesday. He is running with former House speaker Heinz S. Hofschneider.

Rudy Santos, 77, said Yumul seems to want to hold on to his Senate seat should he lose the election. Santos said it seems Yumul is not confident about winning.

Haidee V. Eugenio | Reporter
Haidee V. Eugenio has covered politics, immigration, business and a host of other news beats as a longtime journalist in the CNMI, and is a recipient of professional awards and commendations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental achievement award for her environmental reporting. She is a graduate of the University of the Philippines Diliman.

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