Gov. Eloy S. Inos is not obligated to offer an explanation or a reason should he exercise his power to give a pardon.
According to Rep. Joseph “Lee Pan” Guerrero (R-Saipan), a former Board of Parole director, the CNMI Constitution allows Inos to give the pardon without any explanation
It is a matter of signing a document, Guerrero said. The lawmaker said after the court hands down the sentence, Inos could issue the pardon.
“The governor can issue the pardon even if the inmate has served one day of his sentence or have not started serving the sentence at all,” Guerrero said.
According to Guerrero, even if the CNMI Board of Parole disagrees, the governor can still issue the pardon.
Aside from a full pardon, the governor can also issue is a conditional pardon in which the inmate can render service—at no cost to the government—as part of the conditions of his pardon, Guerrero said.
The issue of pardon emerged following the one-year prison sentence given to former governor Benigno R. Fitial after the former official was convicted of misconduct in public office and conspiracy to commit theft of services
The CNMI Board of Parole today arranged a pardon hearing for Fitial.
Board of Parole chair Ramon B. Camacho earlier placed a newspaper announcement for the pardon hearing at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe today at 9am and, if necessary, the following day, July 1, at 9am.
In the announcement, Camacho said the board will be considering whether to support or object to a pardon for Fitial.
Camacho said after hearing public testimony and discussing the matter, the board will then vote on whether to support or object to Inos’ issuance of a pardon.
In 2001, then governor Pedro P. Tenorio signed into law Senate Bill 12-102, which allows the highest official of the Commonwealth the power to pardon and exonerate a convicted felon.
The new law gives the governor the full capacity to grant pardon in accordance with the Crimes and Criminal Procedures under the Commonwealth Code.
SB 12-102, which is now Public Law 12-41, grants the Commonwealth governor and the Board of Parole a wider elbow room to discharge mandates stipulated under the existing law.
Under the law, the governor may grant an absolute pardon which frees a person without any conditions, terminates any punishment, and exonerates the person from any guilt or conviction, while a conditional pardon depends on performance of some act by the person for its validity and the partial pardon which remits only a portion of the punishment.