NMDC wants case reheard by appellate court

Northern Marianas Decent Corp. officers met with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres on Jan. 13, 2017. (Contributed Photo)

Northern Marianas Decent Corp. officers met with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres on Jan. 13, 2017. (Contributed Photo)

The Northern Marianas Decent Corp. held a general membership meeting on Jan. 4 at the Carolinian utt and elected a new board and officers.

The new board members are Juan S. Torres, Felicidad T. Ogumoro and Thyrone P. Kileleman.

The corporation’s new officers are John Bolis D. Gonzales, president; Daniel O. Quitugua, vice president; Les Ogumoro-Uludong, secretary, and Frank Tomokane, treasurer.

Among those present at the meeting included House Speaker Ralph S. Demapan and Rep. Alice Santos Igitol.

Members were informed of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the John Davis v. CNMI Board of Elections Commission case.

Joseph “Jed” Horey, the attorney who represented NMDC as an amicus party, briefed members on the substance of the ruling and how the three-judge panel reached their conclusion.

This case was originally litigated in the CNMI federal court before Judge Ramona V. Manglona where she ruled in favor of the plaintiff. The case was an Article 12 issue where the plaintiff asserted that he has a constitutional right, pursuant to 15th amendments of the U.S. Constitution, to vote on any issues put forth before the voters, including restrictions on alienation of land known as Article 12 of the CNMI Constitution as predicated by the CNMI Covenant, a political agreement ratified by the people of the CNMI and that of the United States in 1976.

The corporation does not assent to the ruling and instructed its counsel to file a petition for a rehearing “en banc” (by the full court). This petition is asking the following: 1) the entire memberships of the appellate court to hear the full arguments; 2) grant our petition to be considered, not as an amicus party, but rather the primary intervener in the case, since the CNMI Board of Elections through the Office of the Attorney General did not take any further action; and 3) that the full appellate membership carefully consider the background definition of Northern Marianas decent as enumerated in Article 12 of the CNMI Constitution.

NMDC members consider it important to seek support from government leaders about this issue. NMDC members met with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres on Jan. 13, 2017, to discuss the matter. Torres fully supported the decision to file the rehearing petition.

NMDC is open to all interested NMDs who wish to take part in advocating, protecting, and advancing the interests and rights of the indigenous population. Call 285-6382 or 989-8526 for more information.

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