Reactions to the filing of charges vs the governor
Tag: Christina Sablan, CNMI, House, Leila Staffler
The Republican Party of the CNMI and the Committee to Elect Torres-Sablan
As you are aware by now, the Attorney General has filed charges against Gov. Ralph DLG Torres. The Republican Party has full trust in our justice system, maintains that every person is innocent until proven guilty, and stands firm with Gov. Torres, first lady Diann Torres, and their family, as they endure what is apparently another politically motivated attack.
We can’t help but question the timing and motive of the charges filed against the governor.
The Republican Party is dismayed that the former CNMI Democrat Party chairman, CNMI Attorney General Ed Manibusan, would file the charges over three-years later but six months before a general election and days before the commencement of an already ongoing process on the same.
However, rather than delving into our reasons at this time, we choose to focus on the bigger picture and the road ahead. As persons of faith, and as part of a family that chooses to uphold love and respect among ourselves and toward others, we choose not to react with anger and malice toward those who do not support our political views. Instead, we ask that everyone trust in our justice system, in God, and in the goodness of each other and our intentions. (PR)
‘Commonwealth has entered unchartered territory’
In a statement issued by Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, he said, “Gov. Torres is innocent until proven guilty and his due process rights should be respected.”
The lieutenant governor went on to state that the Commonwealth has entered unchartered territory.
“For the first time in our history, a sitting governor has been criminally charged with multiple counts of misconduct in public office, theft and contempt. This is indeed unfortunate and is a blemish to the CNMI,” Palacios said.
Earlier this year, after several months of committee hearings and testimonies by multiple witnesses, the House of Representatives impeached Torres on allegations of felonies of theft, corruption and neglect of duty, by a vote of 15 to 4 and one abstention.
Although the impeachment trial remains to be scheduled in the Senate, Senate president Jude U. Hofschneider ruled that the House impeachment record was deficient. Hofschneider also denied the House of Representative’s request for an extension.
“Despite recent events, the filing of the Information by the attorney general demonstrates that we continue to uphold the rule of law and that no one is above the law,” Palacios said. “Now, more than ever, we must come together and rise above the politics. Let us allow the legal process to take its course and let us respect the rule of law. To our people, let us not relish in the governor’s current dilemma. Instead, we must unite, heal and move our Commonwealth forward, together. May God bless our Commonwealth.” (PR)
House of Representatives
Judiciary and Governmental Operations chair Celina Babauta, whose committee conducted the investigation into Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ irregular travel expenses, reimbursements, and utility payments, thanked the Office of the Attorney General for filing charges this afternoon.
“My colleagues and I have maintained that no person is above the law. We wholeheartedly thank the Office of the Attorney General for acting in the interest of justice for our people. The charges filed in Superior Court this afternoon give us hope as a Commonwealth,” she said.
Vice speaker Blas Jonathan “BJ” Attao expressed his appreciation for the community’s patience and the diligent work by members of the CNMI Legislature.
“This has been a difficult journey for the people of the CNMI who have been patiently waiting for something to come of the investigatory process. This is truly a step towards achieving justice. I would like to thank the members of the 21st Legislature who first brought these issues to light. The work they started paved the road for this victory. I would also like to thank JGO Chairwoman Celina Babauta for making this matter a priority in the 22nd Legislature,” he said.
Rep. Tina Sablan noted the Articles of Impeachment and the Impeachment Record transmitted to the Senate encompass all of the criminal violations of law alleged in the attorney general’s filing.
“We hope this development will encourage the Senate to revisit their decision to proceed with the Impeachment trial without any House prosecutors or the Impeachment Record,” she said. (PR)
Reps. Christina Sablan and Leila Staffler
“The rule of law is essential for people to have trust in their government. Checks and balances among three co-equal branches of government ensure that there are consequences for public officials who abuse their power. In the House of Representatives, we recognized these basic principles when we began the investigation into Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ public expenditures and violations of law, and ultimately when we impeached him for theft, corruption, and neglect of duty. The House’s decision to impeach Torres was based on two years of painstaking legislative investigation that began in the 21st Legislature, and continued in the 22nd. The House did its job.
“The Office of the Attorney General’s decision to press criminal charges against Torres is the result of months of its own independent, diligent investigation. According to the information filed in Superior Court, the evidence points to the governor having committed theft, misconduct in public office, and contempt. The OAG is constitutionally mandated to uphold the laws of the Commonwealth, and to prosecute violations of law. The OAG is doing its job.
“We thank Attorney General Ed Manibusan for standing up for the people of the Commonwealth and taking an important step toward protecting public confidence in our system of justice. This latest turn of events in Torres’ troubled administration underscores how badly change is needed in the Commonwealth’s gubernatorial leadership. People are yearning for genuine change and a more hopeful future. We are listening. We are running together for governor and lieutenant governor because we want change too. And we are committed to delivering the good governance that our people deserve: a government that is fair, honest, and responsible; a government that respects our laws and safeguards the people’s trust.” (PR)