The injunction filed by the Public School System that would force the CNMI government to allot PSS an annual budget of not less than 25% of the Commonwealth’s general revenue has been pushed back to a later date.
According to Board of Education member Andrew Orsini, the hearing for the injunction which was scheduled for April 14 was pushed back and will be heard on June 23.
Orsini said this is also why he and his colleagues who voted in favor of the injunction cannot comment on Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ recent letter that blames PSS for their inability to pay CNMI retirees and beneficiaries.
“Right now, even myself, we don’t want to comment. We still have the court hearing for the injunction pending on June 23. It was supposed to be for April 14 but the judge moved the date to June 23. We’re being advised not to say anything until the hearing because it might affect the case at this time. We don’t want to comment until the hearing is over,” he said.
Torres wrote retirees, surviving spouses, and minor children beneficiaries to say that the CNMI government will only be able to pay 75% of pensions, starting on April 15, 2020.
“I have agonized over this decision and have exhausted as much avenues as possible. Unfortunately, under the circumstances before us, these efforts were simply not enough,” Torres wrote.
Torres blamed the injunction filed by PSS with the approval of BOE for their inability to make these payments.
“Last month, under the direction of Board of Education members Phillip Mendiola-Long, Marylou Ada, and Andrew Orsini, the Public School System filed a Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief demanding 25% of general funds. This lawsuit singlehandedly restricted our government funds at a time when students are not in session, schools are not operated and while our community is deeply entrenched in our fight against the coronavirus disease,” he said.