New faces to join incumbents in 21st Legislature


The 21st Legislature will be an interesting mix of new faces, returning lawmakers, and incumbents, based on the official tally of last Tuesday’s elections by the Commonwealth Election Commission.

Seven newcomers secured their slots in the 20-member House of Representatives, three made a successful return to the Legislature, and 10 incumbents were triumphant in keeping their respective seats in the coming Legislature.

Nine sitting members of the House decided to run in other posts, with four succeeding in their respective bids, while five were unfortunate that included House Speaker Rafael S. Demapan (R-Saipan) in Precinct 2.

Luis John Castro, Joseph Flores, Sheila Babauta, Joel Camacho, Richard Lizama, Antonio Borja, and Donald Manglona are the neophyte lawmakers, with four running under the local GOP banner and another three as independent candidates.

Castro and Flores secured two of the six slots in Precinct 1, Babauta and Camacho the two spots in Precinct 4, Lizama earned one of the two spots in Precinct 5 while Borja clinched the lone Tinian seat.

Borja defeated independent bet Frederick Dela Cruz (553) for now Tinian Mayor Edwin P. Aldan’s House seat, while Manglona defeated floor leader Glenn L. Maratita (631) as Rota representative.
Returning lawmakers
Tina Sablan, a former lawmaker who was a member of the 16th Legislature and who ran as an independent bet, were among the candidates who pulled off an upset after topping the Precinct 2 race with 629 votes to dislodge speaker Demapan from the race, who came in third with 532.

Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation chair John Paul Sablan, despite an alleged DUI arrest, earned the second of the two seats for Precinct 2 with 550 votes while Isabel Matsunaga, another independent, had 360 votes.

In a statement later, Tina Sablan thanked the voters of Precinct 2. “I am deeply grateful to the many friends, family, neighbors, and fellow independent and Democratic candidates who supported my campaign and made this win possible.”

“I want the people of Precinct 2 and the people of the Commonwealth to know that I am committed to working even harder for them as their representative in the Legislature—for a safer, healthier, more beautiful, and more resilient Marianas. For an economy that raises the quality of life for all, and for a more transparent and accountable government.”

She added that recovery should now be the focus after the CNMI experienced two destructive typhoons. “Our people, especially in our southern villages and on Tinian, were hit hard hit by Super Typhoon Yutu and we face so many challenges in recovery.”

“But there are many opportunities as well. We will need to come together as a government and as a community to do everything we can to help our families and businesses get back on their feet. We can and should aim to rebuild so that we are stronger and more resilient than before. That should be one of our highest priorities in the 21st Legislature.”

Former CNMI State Board of Education chair Roman C. Benavente and Ralph N. Yumul are also returning to the House after securing seats in Precincts 1 and 3. Both failed in their re-election bids for the 20th CNMI Legislature.

Benavente clinched the last seat in Precinct 1 with 1,534 votes while Yumul placed fourth with 1,427 votes in Precinct 1.
Other incumbents
Edwin K. Propst (Ind-Saipan) led the incumbents that are going to serve again in Precinct 1 with 2,639 votes while Joseph Leepan T. Guerrero (R-Saipan) had 1,931 and vice speaker Janet U. Maratita had 1,731.

Edmund Villagomez topped Precinct 3 with 1,709 votes followed by Ivan A. Blanco and B.J. Attao with 1,661 and 1,636 votes each. Francisco Dela Cruz and Jose Itibus completed the Top 6 with 1,215 and 1,200, respectively.

J.P. Sablan was second in Precinct 2 with 550 votes while Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero topped Precinct 5 with 977 votes.
Sen. Teresita A. Santos was successful in her re-election bid for one of the two Rota seats with 628 votes, while outgoing lieutenant governor Victor B. Hocog returns to the Senate after garnering 570 votes.

Santos, in a statement, thanked the people of Rota for giving her another mandate. “I will continue to uphold the mandate, trust, and confidence that our people have bestowed upon me.”
“Election is finally over, let us unite to restore and rebuild our CNMI, including in addressing those pressing issues before us.”

Sen. Francisco Q. Cruz and Sen. Jude U. Hofschneider kept their Tinian Senate seats with 1,035 and 918 votes each, while Vinnie Sablan will be moving to the Senate after finishing on top of the Third Senatorial District with 6,076 votes followed by Justo Quitugua with 4,729.


Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.