‘No one can stop Torres from pushing Oct. 31 SOCA’


Ralph DLG. Torres, Jude U. Hofschneider and Edmund S. Villagomez

Senate President Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian) and House of Representatives Speaker Edmund S. Villagomez (Ind-Saipan) both agree that no one can stop Gov. Ralph DLG Torres from delivering his State of the Commonwealth Address at the Kensington Hotel Saipan on Oct. 31.

In an interview with Saipan Tribune Wednesday, Hofschneider said it’s Torres prerogative whether to push with his plan to address the community about the state of the Commonwealth at Kensington on Oct. 31.

“It’s unfortunate that it’s not before a legislative process but he has also a responsibility to allow the people to understand what’s happening in the community, where we at,” Hofschneider said.

He encouraged those who have been invited to attend, and other members in the community to watch it in all available social media platforms.

Villagomez echoed Hofscheider Wednesday, saying, “There is nothing stopping the governor from doing his address.”

Villagomez said he has not decided yet if he is going to attend.

Both the Senate and House have adopted separate resolutions to call for a joint session of the Legislature to receive his SOCA.

The Senate agreed with Torres’ request to hold the SOCA at Kensington Hotel Saipan on Oct. 31, but the House wants to hold it at the House chamber on Dec. 1.

The governor said he originally wanted to hold the SOCA last Oct. 21, but the House majority made an issue that they’re not all invited.

“So I want to be polite and courteous and wrote a letter,” said Torres, referring to his request to Hofschneider and Villagomez to call for a joint session of the Legislature to receive his SOCA at Kensington Hotel but on a new date, Oct. 1.

Rep. Ralph N. Yumul (R-Saipan), who filed the House joint resolution, said Monday that he chose Dec. 1 as the date and the House chamber as the venue, after his meeting with the House leadership that agreed on a date following the Nov. 8 general elections.

Torres reiterated that late governor Froilan Tenorio and former governor Benigno R. Fitial have both sent a written SOCA to the Legislature without having a joint resolution to receive it.

“So I just write my own state of the Commonwealth address, turned to them, or verbally tell the community, here is my state of the Commonwealth address,” the governor said.

In response to Rep. Christina E. Sablan (D-Saipan), who questioned holding the SOCA at one of the most expensive hotels on Saipan, Torres said he wanted to do it where it is more convenient.

He said he has funds to spend to promote businesses as well.

“If they do not want to show up, that’s their prerogative. But I do welcome all of them,” said the governor, referring to the House majority.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com
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