Palacios mum whether he will run for governor


File photo shows Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios and Saipan Mayor David Apatang walking to the Torres-Palacios administration’s presentation on how the CNMI government plans to spend over $512 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding at the Hibiscus Hall of the Crowne Plaza (the former Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan) last June 4. (FERDIE DE LA TORRE)

Saying it’s too early to tell, Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios is still mum whether he is running or not for the November 2022 gubernatorial election.

“I can’t tell you right now. Nothing is really firm yet. I’m just taking a look at things,” said Palacios in an interview at his office yesterday.

The lieutenant governor also declined to comment on speculations in social media that he will run for governor and that his running mate is Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang.

A picture of a banner that says “Proven Action for 22” started circulating in social media yesterday, with the letters “P” and “A” highlighted in the banner.

Palacios did confirm that he will not be Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ running mate in next year’s election but he did not elaborate.

Torres has yet to announce his running mate.

Multiple sources disclosed that Sen. Vinzon Sablan (Ind-Saipan) may likely be Torres’ running mate. Both Sablan and Torres have yet to comment on this.

Palacios said right now he has not committed to anything. “It’s a bit too early. We’re still in pandemic mode. We still have a lot of work to do. There’s a lot of things that still needs to get done,” Palacios said, adding that there are still people that are without jobs.

When asked about Torres’ recent announcement that he will seek re-election, Palacios said it’s a very bold move on Torres’ part because declaring one’s candidacy for governor is usually done in the latter part of the year and that Torres appears to have decided early.

Palacios and Torres are both from the Republican Party.

Palacios acknowledged that Torres has done very well in terms of addressing the immediate needs after disasters and even in this COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, he said, the mayors have done pretty well and that Apatang has done exceptionally well. Palacios said Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) has also done exceptionally well for the Commonwealth.

“At the end of the day, we get to make sure that we take care of things even if we don’t agree on everything. There are certain things that we have to agree on for the benefit of our community,” he said.

Many people are pushing Sablan to challenge Torres next year.

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

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