Torres administration reiterates innocence
Describing it as “political posturing,” a key official of the Torres administration believes impeachment talks stirred by a member of the House of Representatives last Monday was nothing more than self-serving talk.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres chief of staff Angel Demapan yesterday told Saipan Tribune that impeachment talks at this time are self-serving after being asked to comment on a statement from Rep. Tina Sablan (Ind-Saipan) last Monday.
“While it’s the lawmaker’s prerogative to say that impeachment can be initiated before the grand jury determines probable cause goes to show that the idea is purely politically driven and premised on self-aggrandizing motives,” he told Saipan Tribune in an email.
“In the court of law, a person is innocent until proven guilty. To drum up impeachment at this point is nothing more than political posturing,” he continued.
Sablan on Monday told Saipan Tribune regarding social media comments on initiating an impeachment proceeding against Torres.
She said the Legislature has the authority to conduct oversight and investigations on other branches of the government—including the Executive Branch—as the CNMI Constitution sets up each branch to provide checks and balances on one another.
“Any impeachment process, should we come to that, would be separate from the criminal process, though evidence that is presented in criminal proceeding may be examined by the Legislature as well,” she previously said, adding that the issues at hand go “beyond party lines and loyalties.”
Saipan Tribune also reached out to House Speaker Blas Jonathan “B.J.” Attao (R-Saipan), but he declined to comment as of publication.
However, Demapan reiterated that everybody is innocent until proven guilty.
“Governor Torres has cooperated with the ongoing investigation. He has always upheld the trust and responsibility of this office and believes that in due time, this investigation will find him clear of any further concern. The process toward clearing his name on this issue will take time, but it is a process that must be respected,” he said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation last Nov. 7 and 8 executed search warrants all over Saipan.
The FBI, along with the CNMI Office of the Public Auditor, also visited the Commonwealth Casino Commission Tuesday. CCC executive director Edward Deleon Guerrero did not disclose the reason for their visit.