House likely to impeach Torres today

Villagomez says they will be acting on the impeachment resolution
Ralph DLG Torres

Ralph DLG Torres

The Democrat Party-controlled House of Representatives will likely impeach Gov. Ralph DLG Torres in today’s session that is expected to be long and will have the presence of some Torres supporters, pro-impeachment individuals, and police officers to contain the crowd, in and outside the House chamber on Capital Hill.

House Speaker Edmund S. Villagomez (Ind-Saipan) confirmed yesterday that they will be acting on the impeachment resolution in today’s session that will start at 10am.

To impeach Torres, the House needs two-third votes or 14 representatives to vote “yes” to the impeachment resolution.

House Resolution 22-14, which House Judiciary and Governmental Operations Committee chair Rep. Celina R. Babauta (D-Saipan) had introduced, charges the governor with committing felony, corruption, and neglect of duty.

As of yesterday, Rep. Celina Babauta said that 13 lawmakers, including herself, have already signed the resolution. Rep. Sheila J. Babauta is the only Democrat representative who has yet to sign it.

A source at the Legislature said that Rep. Sheila Babauta and Villagomez may deliver the “nail in the coffin” 14 and 15 votes, making Torres the second governor in the CNMI history to be impeached.

The 13 who have already signed the impeachment resolution are eight Democrats, two independent, and three Republicans. They are Reps. Celina Babauta (D-Saipan), Edwin K. Propst (D-Saipan), Christina E. Sablan (D-Saipan), Leila Staffler (D-Saipan), Corina L. Magofna (D-Saipan), Denita Yangetmai (D-Saipan), Richard T. Lizama (D-Saipan), Vicente Camacho (D-Saipan), Donald Manglona (Ind-Rota), Joel Camacho (Ind-Saipan), vice speaker Blas Jonathan T. Attao (R-Saipan), floor leader Ralph N. Yumul (R-Saipan), and John Paul Sablan (R-Saipan).

The five others who did not sign the resolution are Angel Demapan (R-Saipan), Joseph Lee Pan Guerrero (R-Saipan), Roy Ada (R-Saipan), Patrick San Nicolas (R-Tinian), and Joseph Flores (Ind-Saipan).

In today’s session, the majority members are expected to make statements on every six articles of impeachment. Pro-impeachment and Torres’ supporters may also speak at the public comment portion of the session.

Torres earlier stated that, although the House has the numbers to impeach him, he does not intend to resign, adding that he is confident in the Senate’s ability to be fair, which he said is all that he has been asking for of the Legislature.

The governor described the “false allegations” of the JGO committee against him and his family as “nothing more than a politically charged group of Democrats conspiring to sensationalize misleading information so that they may divide the community and seize power for themselves.”

Once Torres is impeached by the House, the nine-member Republican Party-controlled Senate will then hold a trial. Torres is the titular head of the NMI Republican Party.

If six senators vote for his conviction, Torres will be removed from office. Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, who is running for governor this November, will become the governor, and Senate President Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian) will become the lieutenant governor.

Former governor Benigno R. Fitial was the first governor to be impeached, when 16 representatives voted for his impeachment in 2013. Fitial resigned before the Senate could start the trial.

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

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.