Manibusan sworn in as first elected attorney general

Manibusan wants OAG to be the best law firm in the CNMI, Micronesia

Former Superior Court Presiding Judge Edward Manibusan was sworn in yesterday as the first elected attorney general in the CNMI in a historic ceremony at the CNMI Supreme Court.

Edward Manibusan in a group photo after taking oath as the CNMI’s first elected attorney general during a historic ceremony yesterday at the CNMI Supreme Court. From left are Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo, Associate Justice Perry Inos, Mrs. Del Manibusan, Fr. Ryan Jimenez, Edward Manibusan, Chief Justice Alexandro Castro, Associate Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio, and attorney Deborah Fisher-Huesman.  (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

Edward Manibusan in a group photo after taking oath as the CNMI’s first elected attorney general during a historic ceremony yesterday at the CNMI Supreme Court. From left are Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo, Associate Justice Perry Inos, Mrs. Del Manibusan, Fr. Ryan Jimenez, Edward Manibusan, Chief Justice Alexandro Castro, Associate Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio, and attorney Deborah Fisher-Huesman. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

At the swearing in ceremony administered by CNMI Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexandro C. Castro, Manibusan discussed his ideas, plans and visions for the Office of the Attorney General as part of his over-arching goal to ensure the safety and security of the people of the Commonwealth.

“Foremost, I want it to be the best law firm in the Commonwealth, in all the territories and in all of Micronesia,” Manibusan said.

To achieve such a goal, he said, means the OAG has to work in partnership with the Executive Branch, the Legislature, the courts, law enforcement agencies such as Customs, Police, Fish and Wildlife, Probation, Parole, and federal counterparts.

“We all need to work together to face and fight the challenges of graft and corruption, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, drugs and violent crimes,” Manibusan said.

He underscored the importance of working together to talk about and solve criminal justice issues such as crime prevention, investigations and prosecutions.

“We need to come together as a community to clean our environment so that we and our guests can enjoy our islands’ beauty free from trash and garbage and destruction,” he said.

The AG said he is committed to working with Gov. Eloy S. Inos and regulatory agencies and plan to engage Commonwealth agencies to meet regularly to discuss issues aimed at building and improving relationships, discussing issues relating to enforcement of laws and to promote training so that all can properly and legally do their jobs.

Manibusan said he will ask for a budget that reflects the OAG’s priorities such as establishing a Solicitors Division, funding the Office of Consumer Counsel, and creating a White Collar Crime/Public Corruption Unit within the OAG’s Criminal Division.

Manibusan said his other goals include building infrastructure for the Office of the Attorney so that it would be a truly independent office, free from political interference and influence as mandated by the people, and training the staff both legal and administrative internally and through organizations like the National Association of Attorneys General.

He said he will also, among other things, expand training to government agencies dealing with their legal structures so that these agencies can be more effective and efficient.

Manibusan said he has begun the search for a deputy attorney general, which he believes is critical to the function and operation of the OAG.

Manibusan said he is committed to pursuing justice and not prosecuting cases for numbers.

He disclosed that he will bring in a chief prosecutor who will manage the OAG’s Criminal Division and ensure that all criminal cases are thoroughly investigated and reviewed before charges are filed.

Manibusan acknowledged the tremendous power of the attorney general in the prosecution of crimes.

“I am committed to ensuring a fair criminal justice for all citizens,” the AG said.

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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