Minority reviewing position on impeachment
Vice speaker: Let the investigation process conclude
The House minority bloc led by Rep. Edwin K. Propst (Ind-Saipan) is still weighing their position on possible impeachment proceedings against Gov. Ralph DLG Torres amid federal investigations, while House vice speaker Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero (R-Saipan) believes it is best to conclude the judicial process first before acting.
Propst told Saipan Tribune yesterday that a statement from the House minority bloc, which is also composed of Reps. Sheila Babauta (Ind-Saipan), Cristina Sablan (Ind-Saipan), Donald Manglona (Ind-Rota), and Rep. Edmund Villagomez (Ind-Saipan), would be forthcoming.
“I am still working with the minority members in coming up with a unified statement to address these concerns,” he said, adding that some members of the House minority bloc are currently off-island.
Sablan noted in a previous interview that the Legislature has the authority to investigate other branches of the government—including the Executive Branch—as provided by the CNMI Constitution.
“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 had said.
Torres’ chief of staff, Angel Demapan, said that premature talks of impeachment are “self-aggrandizing” and “political posturing.”
“…The idea is purely politically driven and premised on self-aggrandizing motives,” he said.
Propst told Saipan Tribune in an interview yesterday that being in the minority means they “are free to speak from their hearts and say whatever they feel.”
“We want to come out with a unified statement—one that we [the minority bloc] all agree to on all terms. That is forthcoming,” he added.
Deleon Guerrero said he would be more comfortable in taking action once the investigation findings are made public.
“I don’t think we should be talking about [impeachment],” he told Saipan Tribune. “It is all allegations and nothing is founded. There are no grounds at this point. It is very premature,” he said.
Deleon Guerrero noted that when impeachment proceedings were filed against former governor Benigno R. Fitial, ultimately resulting in his resignation, charges were already brought against him.
“We must let the process go through. Let the judicial system go through. It’s only an investigation and nothing has been proven,” he said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation executed search warrants all over Saipan last Nov. 7, 2019 through Nov. 8, 2019.
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.