They are not yet legitimate


Torres and Hocog. I say they, still, are not legitimate. They assumed the “acting” title back in December 2015 upon the failure of Eloy Inos’ return to the CNMI to resume his office as a sitting governor. Until they get elected in a special election to remove the stigma of “acting,” they remain illegitimate until then.

That is not a hypothesis, not a thesis, not an essay, not a political theory, not a made-up story. Our constitution says that. They are “acting.” “We’re no dummies.” No! We say, not, and I am not alone now who questions the legitimacy of Torres and Hocog as full-fledge governor and lieutenant governor. So, any one else for special election? What? Silence? The sound of status quo, deep and absolute silence. Not a sound from the election office, not even the banging of the ballot boxes to break this eerie silence of the current political atmosphere. The question was asked, and to date, the question remains unanswered.

Well, it has in a way—with silence on the special election issue! It’s the typical CNMI. If you don’t like something, just ignore it until the noise dies down and eventually, all is forgotten. Fadkiluyi ha sa siempre ha todo humuyung fino. Chamu lilihan, AMO, sa siempre ha i taotao ma aksepta i situasion. Ke (Que) lau hafa na en ditietiene i special election? Asta ngai’an? November? Nunca? Ke na haye dei hamyu? En na’e hamyu ni konfiansan mame, i inangokon mame na hamyu man mauleg na kandidato, lau, et primet lugat, hamyu mas man iya mo’nana gi filan para man yulang LAI, kololo’ña sa i Constitution, the supreme law of the land, en keke eskohi. Mungnga mana lachi i chalan. Hafa na patte gi constitution cha’ut miyo na en ditietiene i botasion? Para en fan matachong sin man ma bota gi special election? Matai si Eloy Inos giya America ya trabia (todavia) 11 meses ha hakompli gi 4 anos na “term.” I CNMI Constitution ha gagagao na yangin taiguine na sinisede guaha, u mana guaha special election pot para u ma tahgui i permanente na tumaigui. I rason? Temporario ha i humalum na gobetnadot ya nenesita na u guaha petmanent na gobetnadot para u kinibre i tetehnan na “Term.” Man mamatinas hamyo decision ni ti sinopopotta ni Constitution?

The advisors better not interpret the provisions of the two constitutions and skew their arguments away from the legislative histories. These are written documents. You cannot make a side transcript of the legislative histories to cure your theory. The constitution is a written document and can only be changed in a general election. There are precedents. The two CONCONs are over, and the “midnight” advisors are not CONCON delegates. They are ordinary, common people. They don’t have the floor to present their thesis or hypothesis or your white paper. This usurpation ought to stop. The former CONCON delegates are still alive and well.

To be bona fide governor and lieutenant governor, the “acting” incumbents should legitimize themselves by getting elected so that their occupancy of the office is legitimate. While nothing is being heard on the surface, I say there’s something “brewing.” It could be full-blown if is not taken care of early. The issue: How Torres and Hocog got to be full-powered officials without being popularly elected. When is the special election? Until when? November? Never? Torres and Hocog are substituting their own value choices for those of the voters. They are subverting the Constitution by usurping the people power to vote. Their advisors who stepped out of bound are no less bound by constitutional limits. James Madison said, to the effect, that all “powers are of the encroaching nature and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limit assigned to it.” And this is where we are now—They are pushing their powers beyond the limit to see how far they can finagle legitimacy without being entangled in illegality. I don’t have to be a lawyer to understand what’s going on.

The special election question centered on the validity of the Honorable Ralph Torres’ actions when he assumed the office of governor as “acting.” He could not be anything else but “acting.” Lt. Gov. Torres’ ascension to the Governor’s Office in an “acting” capacity was a constitutional mandate. It’s automatic. But it remains “acting.” No “Double-Dutch” swearing-in, one on top of the other, could change that applicable clause. These were based on Section 7 of the CNMI Constitution. Questions have persisted because of the constitution. But by now, those promoting acting governor Torres have concluded that they are correct. They are high-ranking officials so no need to explain themselves, other than an article in the paper explaining a meek political defensive opinion from an elected AG. Did I say elected, and not appointed? Isn’t the AG supposed to be independent come hell or high water? Has he gone Republican? I thought he was the president of the Democrats. This being the CNMI, totally expected and understandable.

To forego all doubts, the key players had two options:

Could have submitted a certified question to a “sessioned” court for a judicial review;

Simply meet somewhere to interpret the constitution away from the legislative history’s paper trail. But there can’t be any interpretation without reverting to the legislative histories to trace the mindset of the delegates during the two CONCON settings. What was said about gubernatorial succession? Many of the CONCON delegates and attorneys are still alive and well. To interpret the Constitution and skew the histories in the advisors’ favor, in the presence of these delegates and attorneys who left their marks in the “legislative histories of the Constitution and all the ancillary provisions” are simply insulting. Are we “dimwits?” Skewed obfuscation. It’s like “in your face, buster, take that.” That’s what it is. The special election mandate is simple with a readability index between 8 and 16. What’s so complicated about the requirements?

Well, the conferees took option No. 2 and that has fueled more questions, and to a degree, mistrust, and even accusations that officials are currently circumventing the law for their aggrandizement.

Perhaps a few political definitions are in order:

Democracy: a government of the people, like F. Ada, P. Teno, Dr. C. Camacho, V. Kilili, Rasa, Denchu, Mechot, Benamin, etc.

Oligarchy: a government by the few like Poroshenko, Bandera, etc.

Aristocracy: A government by the best-like Queen Liliuokalani.

Anarchy: What happens when determination overcomes rationality, like the Torres-Hocog futuristic confederacy. Give me Nella Fantasia.

Legitimize your positions—get elected!

Rudy M. Sablan

Rudy M. Sablan

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