Palacios, Apatang, 16 candidates file their candidacies


Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios shakes the hand of Commonwealth Election Commission executive director Kayla S. Igitol Friday after filing his candidacy as governor, with Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, second from left, as his running mate, under an independent team, for the Nov. 8 general election. Also in the photo, from left front, are former governor Benigno R. Fitial and former House speaker Oscar M. Babauta. (Ferdie De La Torre)

Lt. Gov. Arnold Indalecio Palacios and Saipan Mayor David Mundo Apatang filed Friday morning their candidacies as governor and lieutenant governor, respectively, along with their slate of 16 candidates under a unified independent team.

Palacios, Apatang, and their 16 candidates submitted their petitions for nomination and candidacy documents to Commonwealth Election Commission executive director Kayla S. Igitol and CEC staff inside the CEC office in Susupe.

Former governor Benigno R. Fitial and newly removed Division of Customs and Biosecurity director Jose Mafnas Sr. were among the many supporters, family members, and friends who were present at the filing.

Lt. Gov. Palacios said in a later interview that he is grateful to the families, friends, and supporters who joined them and their candidates as they filed their candidacies for the Nov. 8 general election.

“It’s a very important milestone so to speak in the election process—the filing of petitions,” Palacios said.

He said that, under the present circumstances, government employees are “very reluctant” to come out and show their support for their “Team AD 2022,” referring to their campaign slogan, which stands for the initials of Palacios and Apatang’s first names, Arnold and David.

“Be that as it may, we remain very positive. Our candidates are positive and our people are positive,” Palacios said.

Also in a later interview, Apatang said he’s humbled for all the supporters that came up and that they’re looking forward to continuing this movement.

“And I hope that people would open up and join our movement to get this government back in the right direction,” he said.

Apatang said he believes that as they go along, a lot of people will be joining them. “There’s a lot of them. That shows that they want change in the direction of this government. We’re asking them, ‘Don’t be afraid, come up and join the right direction,’” the mayor said.

Former House speaker Oscar M. Babauta, who is chairman of the AD 2022 Campaign Committee, said their candidates are committed to forge a strong and vibrant alliance with the Palacios-Apatang tandem.

Babauta said countless numbers of CNMI residents throughout the Commonwealth have since signified their commitment and that of their families.

He said most if not all public and private sectors are rallying behind Team AD 2022’s campaign slogan of “Rebuilding Trust” within the government.

Babauta said the team does not have any candidate within the first and 2nd senatorial districts, or Rota and Tinian because they agreed that the local elective process should be left to the people of both senatorial districts.

Babauta said their executive campaign committee members come from a diverse group of former politicians, all of whom had prior positive results in one way or another in previous campaigns. He said Palacios and Apatang and the committee are grateful to all these individuals for their volunteer spirit.

For Saipan mayor, the AD Team’s candidate is Ramon “RB” B. Camacho.

For the Senate Saipan seats, the team has Rep. Corina L. Magofna and former Commerce secretary Andrew Sablan Salas.

For House Precinct 1, the team has four—former representative Roman Cepeda Benavente, Vincent Seman Aldan, Shawn Delos Reyes Kaipat, and Raymond Ulloa Palacios.

For House Precinct 2, re-electionist Rep. John Paul Palacios Sablan is teaming with Manny Gregorio Tenorio Castro.

For House Precinct 3, House vice speaker Blas Jonathan Tenorio Attao and House floor leader Ralph Naraja Yumul, both Republicans, are seeking re-election under the AD team. Also running under the team are Delbert Taitano Pua and Marissa Renee A. Flores.

For House Precinct, 4, Rep. Joel Castro Camacho, a former Republican, is seeking re-election under the AD team. Malcom Jason Omar is also the team’s other candidate.

For House Precinct 5, the team’s bet is Angelo Atalig Camacho.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres is seeking re-election, with Sen. Vinnie Vinson Sablan (R-Saipan) as his running mate, under the NMI Republican Party. Torres, Sablan and their team are set to file their candidacies on Aug. 9 at 10am.

Reps. Christina Marie E. Sablan and Leila Haveia Fleming C. Staffler are running as governor and lieutenant governor, respectively, under the NMI Democratic Party. Sablan and Staffler, along with their candidates, are going to file their candidacies on Aug. 5.

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
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.