Inos to decide on Fitial’s fate this week


As far as he is concerned, Gov. Eloy S. Inos has three options on the case of convicted former governor Benigno R. Fitial.

Inos said the CNMI Constitution allows him to pardon, commute the sentence, or give a reprieve to Fitial.

“That is the range of actions that I can look at,” he said.

On June 25, Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman imposed a one-year prison sentence on the 69-year-old Fitial, who was convicted of misconduct in public office and conspiracy to commit theft of services.

Fitial was ordered last week to start serving his one-year prison term on or before July 6.

But on Tuesday, the Board of Parole unanimously voted to support a commutation of sentence that was imposed on Fitial. The board also unanimously voted to object the granting of absolute pardon for the former official.

The board, in an earlier Saipan Tribune report, said it decided to conduct the hearing after Inos requested last June 22—or two days before the sentencing—for a consultation on whether or not grant a pardon to Fitial

Inos confirmed sending the letter seeking recommendation, but said he is not entirely sure whether it was sent “two days before” or “two days after” the sentencing.

“But it’s all really about consultations,” Inos said.

He said that he plans to make a decision before he takes a three-week vacation in Seattle to meet with family members in the U.S.

After being asked if he will follow the Board of Parole’s recommendations, Inos said, “I can follow it. But I’m not required to.”

“I will look at the options, and came up with the recommendations. The ball is in my court now,” he said, adding that a decision will be made “by the weekend.”

Inos declined to comment when asked if he will grant a pardon for Fitial.

Inos also clarified that he was not approached by the camp of Fitial before the sentencing. However, he said Fitial “submitted an application for pardon.” Inos said this is the reason he sent a letter of intent to the board.

In a statement, Lt. Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres commended the Board of Parole.

“We are currently in a very important process that is guided by the Constitution and laws of the CNMI. I commend the Board of Parole and all those who attended the public hearing for their diligence in ensuring the voice of the public contributes to any decision made,” Torres said.

“Now, as the board has issued their recommendation, the authority over this decision rests with the governor under the Constitution.”

Joel D. Pinaroc | Reporter
Joel Pinaroc worked for a number of newspapers in the Philippines before joining the editorial team of Saipan Tribune. His published articles include stories on information technology, travel and lifestyle, and motoring, among others. Contact him at

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