TO FILL VACANT HOUSE SEAT

It’s open season

Source: Torres agrees with OAG opinion to hold special election

In a special election that will be held to fill the seat that became vacant with the passing of Rep. Francisco S. Dela Cruz (R-Saipan), the six candidates who lost in the race for Precinct 3 seats last Nov. 13 would need to submit once more their petitions for candidacy with the Commonwealth Election Commission.

This developed as a source disclosed that Gov. Ralph DLG Torres had already talked with one of the lawyers of the Office of the Attorney General, who advised him that there should be a special election to fill the vacancy.

The source said that Torres agrees with the OAG’s opinion to follow the CNMI Constitution by holding a special election.

CEC administrative officer Kayla Igitol said yesterday that the special election is open to anybody, which means other people who are qualified to run for the Precinct 3 seat can join the race and not just the candidates who lost in the general election last November.

Igitol said the CEC board will review the petitions for candidacy for approval.

She said the absentee voters for Precinct 3 would also need to vote again.

Once Torres issues a proclamation declaring the vacancy and a special election, the CEC will have a 60-day timeframe to hold the election, Igitol said .

Dela Cruz, 56, a former House vice speaker, passed away on Tinian last Sunday.

There are six Precinct 3 seats. Last November, a total of 12 candidates vied for those seats.

Edmund Villagomez, an independent, obtained the highest number of votes. Dela Cruz landed fifth.

The six candidates who did not make it were Rep. Donald Barcinas, David Sablan, Vicente Camacho, Luis Tilipao, Mariano Fajardo, and Stanley Torres.

Chief solicitor Charles E. Brasington told Saipan Tribune on Tuesday that the CNMI Constitution and statutes are straightforward about the issue whether a special election will be held or not.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com
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