Guam judge to handle Manglona suit vs Senate


The CNMI Supreme Court has officially appointed Guam Superior Court Judge Alberto Tolentino to hear the complaint filed by Sen. Paul A. Manglona (Ind-Rota) against the Republican members of the CNMI Senate.

In an order yesterday, Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexandro C. Castro officially appointed Tolentino as judge pro tempore to hear the complaint filed by Manglona and two other CNMI residents against members of the Senate.

Castro informed the parties that they have 10 days to file a motion if they want Tolentino disqualified.


“A party shall file a motion to disqualify within 10 days from the date of this order should they believe that reasonable grounds exist for the judge pro tempore to be disqualified from this matter. The motion shall state specifically the grounds for such disqualification. Unless the motion to disqualify is granted, judge pro tempore Tolentino shall have full authority to serve as in this matter and shall carry out the duties and powers inherent with the appointment,” he said.

Castro noted that the Supreme Court has the authority to appoint a judge outside of the CNMI to preside over a case if there is no CNMI judge to hear the case.

“Presiding Judge Roberto C. Naraja has informed the court that the sitting judges in the Superior Court have recused themselves from the matter. Under the authority of Article IV, Section 9 of the NMI Constitution and in furtherance of the prompt and efficient dispatch of court business, the chief justice may designate a judge pro tempore as necessary,” he stated.

Manglona’s complaint revolved around the alleged violations the Senate chamber made throughout the impeachment process and sought relief in the form of a temporary restraining order to stop the Senate from carrying out the impeachment trial against Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and suspend the proceedings until the court ruled on the complaint.

However, the appointment order was only issued a day before the Senate’s unanimous decision to acquit Torres on all six Articles of Impeachment.

In a brief statement from Manglona, however, he said that, although the trial has concluded and the governor has been acquitted, he and his co-plaintiffs intend to carry on with the complaint because the Senate impeachment rules allegedly still violated the Constitution.

“The Open Government Act was violated. The impeachment rules are illegal,” Manglona stated.

Manglona’s co-pro se plaintiffs are CNMI residents Carmen Patricia Deleon Guerrero and Bruce Lee Jorgensen. Their complaint names Senate President Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian), and Sens. Karl King-Nabors (R-Tinian), Victor Hocog (R-Rota), Francisco Cruz (R-Rota), Vinnie Sablan (R-Saipan), and Justo Quitugua (R-Saipan) as defendants.

Manglona and his co-plaintiffs have filed five causes of actions to sue Republican members of the Senate on the grounds of violations of the Open Government Act, violations of the CNMI Constitution, breach of constitutional duty, and alleged deprivation of due process and civil rights.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at

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