House leadership up for grabs


The incoming NMI Republican Party supermajority at the House of Representatives would make it easier to push key legislation that would support the programs and other plans of the administration of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres. Republicans grabbed 15 of the 20 seats at stake in the House with the independent bloc taking up the remaining slots.

The GOP also controls the Senate, led by Senate President Francisco Borja, Senate vice president Arnold Palacios, Sens. Sixto K. Igisomar, Jude Hofschneider, Francisco Cruz, Steve Mesngon, and Teresita Santos. Sens. Justo Quitugua and Paul Manglona are independents.

Torres welcomed the GOP-led Legislature, adding that the incoming House speaker could expect his administration’s full support. “Right now, we understand that the majority caucus is deliberating and that a vote for speakership will be apparent and official on Jan. 9.”

Lt. Gov. Victor B. Hocog, in an earlier interview when he was the acting governor for almost two weeks, said it is time for CNMI leaders to be united in order to solve critical issues in the Commonwealth.

“There’s nothing more that I can say with a GOP-led Legislature. It’s time to come together so we could address critical issues and other pending problems in our community. Land compensation and providing additional assistance on the basic needs of our people are among the biggest concerns that needs more attention,” said Hocog.

House leadership

Ranking officials of the local GOP are now talking about the composition of the incoming leadership at the House of Representatives. The House speakership is being discussed and there are reports that House Speaker Rafael Demapan has already locked up the post. The Republicans met yesterday to reach an agreement.

Demapan, who is vocal in seeking the House speakership, said they could easily choose a speaker with the supermajority. “We can elect a speaker within the group. It only takes 11 votes or a simple majority to elect a speaker.”

“With the supermajority, I’m sure it would unite the House and with the support of the minority, we can move critical legislation that would address issues in the CNMI. Whoever is the new speaker, the House will work and throw its support.”

There are reports that Demapan already has eight votes.
GOP lawmakers

House Vice Speaker Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero, Reps. Angel A. Demapan, Joseph Leepan T. Guerrero, Janet U. Maratita, and Gregorio M. Sablan are the GOP lawmakers in Precinct 1, joining independent Edwin K. Propst.

Former press secretary Ivan A. Blanco is one of six who would represent Precinct 3 along with Blas Jonathan T. Attao and Edmund S. Villagomez of the minority bloc, and Donald C. Barcinas, Francisco S. Dela Cruz, and Jose I. Itibus.

Demapan and Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation chair John Paul P. Sablan, both Republicans, will again represent Precinct 2, while GOP newcomer Alice S. Igitol will be joining independent Vinson Edward F. Sablan in Precinct 4.

Rep. Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan) and Francisco C. Aguon clinched the Precinct 5 seats, while Reps. Edwin P. Aldan (Tinian) and Glenn L. Maratita (Rota) retained their House seats. Aguon, Aldan, and Maratita are under the GOP ticket.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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