With records about Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ official expenses now with the House of Representatives, the minority bloc is set to review the documents, as the preparations roll for an inquiry whether there were any incidents of misuse of government funds.
In an interview with Saipan Tribune, Rep. Tina Sablan (Ind-Saipan) said the minority will begin reviewing the documents, to assess what they requested under the Open Government Act and what they have actually received.
“We also want to reach out to the [Office of the] Public Auditor for assistance in the review. And, then we’ll be engaging with our professional staff. We have our fiscal analyst here who has said that he could participate in the review as well,” she said.
According to Sablan, the minority will be doing their own review, highlight issues that they would find, and prepare a report.
Sablan added that they are also participating in the committee investigation as members.
She stressed that the governor deserves due process. “I know that members of the community are already saying we should do an impeachment, but…to be fair, if we are serious about giving the governor due process, and I know from the minority’s side, we are, and if we want to do a thorough inquiry, we can’t have some endgame in mind, whether it’s impeachment or criminal referrals for prosecution, or anything like that.”
In a separate interview last Friday, Rep. Ivan Blanco (R-Saipan), who is with the majority bloc at the Legislature, assured that “we look forward to working with” the minority bloc.
The Department of Finance handed over Torres’ financial records to the House of Representatives last Jan. 22.
Blanco said the House Ways & Means Committee has yet to receive their copy of the documents. “I spoke to the Secretary of Finance this morning just a while ago and he said they’re also preparing our files. I’m looking forward to it the soonest. For the Ways and Means Committee, we do have two minority members. So we’re going to review theirs, and they’re also going to help us review ours for the committee.”
Blanco added that the committee is going to look into the documents and would pass on any found questionable documents to the authorities, “whether it be [attorney general] or the OPA, and they will decide whether that would warrant further review or looking into. That’s the plan.”