Rota delegation appropriates $1M from IPI for referral patients, other programs

Delegation amends local bill to address Manibusan’s concern, other allotment changes

The Rota Legislative Delegation passed Thursday a local bill that proposes to appropriate to Rota for referral patients, among other programs, Rota’s $1 million share of Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC’s $15 million license fee that was paid to the CNMI government two years ago.

At the session in the Senate chamber, all delegation members—Sens. Teresita A. Santos (Ind-Rota), Paul A. Manglona (Ind-Rota), and Victor B. Hocog (R-Rota), and Rep. Donald M. Manglona (Ind-Rota)—voted “yes” to House Local Bill 22-23, S1.

The delegation amended the bill to reflect changes in the allocation amounts and address the concern of Attorney General Edward Manibusan about a “problematic” provision in the legislation.

Santos, who is the delegation co-chair, told Saipan Tribune over the weekend that with the amended bill, there is no fiscal limitations and no reprogramming of the funding.

She said the legislation will be forwarded to the Torres-Palacios administration for review and action.

“It is hoped that, after the enactment of HLB 22-23, S1, the subsistence allowance for our terminally ill and dialysis patients, including stipends for our medical referral patients and escorts, are processed and issued to augment our patients’ needs for financial assistance,” Santos said.


Authored by Rep. Donald M. Manglona, the bill originally proposed to appropriate $535,000 of IPI’s license fee to the delegation for operations under the joint expenditure authority of the delegation or their designee.

But in a legal opinion he issued last Nov. 23, Manibusan found the bill “problematic” as it appears to sidestep the constitutional gap on the legislative budget.

Manibusan said that, as he had stated in past comments to the Legislature, the appropriation to legislative delegations to fund operational costs is an end-run around the constitutional gap on the legislative budget set forth in NMI Constitution Article II, Section 16.

Manibusan said each delegation is a component unit of the Commonwealth Legislature and may not incur expenditures beyond that is established every fiscal year in the annual appropriation acts for the Legislature.

The amended bill, HLB 22-23, S1, proposes to allot $217,924 from the $1 million for interisland medical referral stipend for patients and their escorts under the expenditure authority of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. chief executive officer or his/her designee.

The bill proposes to allot $290,000 for Medical Subsistence Allowance for the Rota hemodialysis and terminally-ill patients under the expenditure authority of the Finance secretary.

The legislation also proposes to allot $68,000 to the Rota Liaison Office under the expenditure authority of the Rota mayor;

– $45,000 shall be used to purchase a new vehicle.

– 5,000 shall be used for fuel and lubrication.

– $3,000 for office supplies and equipment.

– $15,000 for the Rota Health Clinic assessment of hemodialysis facility and to assess for Medicare compliance and eligibility.

The bill proposes to allot $50,000 to purchase a vehicle for the Department of Public Safety-Rota Criminal Investigation Division and for the cost of freight under the expenditure authority of the Rota mayor.

The bill proposes to allot $374,076 for the Rota Delegation’s community programs and projects under the joint expenditure authority of the chairpersons of the delegation or their designee.

Rep. Donald Manglona said the justification for this $374,076 appropriation is that a provision in the NMI Constitution provides that each legislative member shall receive not more than $155,000 per year; however, another provision in the statute authorizes an adjustment on the ceiling amount based on the U.S. Department of Commerce price index.

Last October, Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres notified the Senate and the House of Representatives that $8 million of the $15 million six-casino license fee that IPI paid is available for appropriation.

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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