A request for a temporary restraining order against the impeachment proceedings of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres was denied last Friday, May 6.
Judge pro tempore Timothy Bellas, who appeared via video conference at on oral hearing in Superior Court last Friday, denied the request for a temporary restraining order filed by Sen. Paul A. Manglona (Ind-Rota) and a local taxpayer, Carmen Patricia Deleon Guerrero.
Manglona and Deleon Guerrero had wanted a temporary halt on the impeachment proceedings against Torres at the Senate in “order to allow the House of Representatives to submit their impeachment records and serve as prosecutors in the upcoming proceedings.”
Initially, the proceedings were slightly delayed due to technical difficulties. The courtroom was filled with Democratic Party supporters of Manglona, including Democratic Party candidate for governor Rep. Christina Sablan (D-Saipan).
Manglona and Deleon Guerrero represented themselves in the court as, according to Manglona, “no lawyer has been available for a pro bono or cost-free appearance on our behalf. But, regardless, Guerrero and I shall continue to advocate on our own, as pro se litigants, in an effort to protect and promote the welfare of the CNMI community as a whole.” Manglona said this last week prior to the hearing.
However, during the hearing itself, Bellas told Manglona that perhaps an attorney will be able to advise him on the “fact that it’s more appropriate to pursue this separately, the motion for whatever causes of action you believe are appropriate under the facts and the circumstances that have happened in the CNMI Senate.”
Furthermore, Bellas said he “can’t subscribe to [Manglona’s] theory that there’s a conspiracy. …I have to take the pleadings that were made by the plaintiff on its face value. …There’s also the delay issue. …It’s important that the court make rulings that are relatively timely so that everyone can guide themselves and take whatever they deem is appropriate after that. The court is imminently ready to rule on the underlying case. And so therefore, that is another factor that I take into consideration and saying that the motion to intervene is definitely going to be denied.”
Basically, Bellas and Torres’ lawyers said that the lawsuit is about the subpoena that the House Judiciary and Governmental Operations issued to get Torres to testify but the motion from Manglona is not about the subpoena.
Additionally, last Thursday, the court denied Manglona and Deleon Guerrero’s request to intervene in the lawsuit filed by Torres against the JGO because it did not meet the requirements of both permissive intervention and intervention of right.
Bellas said he will issue an order on the matter.