‘Issues at stake involving governor go beyond party lines, loyalties’
The CNMI House of Representatives has enough cause to open in inquiry—independent of any criminal investigation—related to the ongoing Federal Investigation Bureau’s probe of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and several others, according to Rep. Christina Sablan (Ind-Saipan) yesterday.
“We do not have to wait for the grand jury to issue an indictment or for an arrest to be made,” said Sablan when asked for comments about some comments on social media about initiating an impeachment proceeding against Torres.
Sablan said the Legislature plays a critical role in providing checks and balances in the CNMI’s system of government, and that they have the power to conduct oversight and investigations.
“Any impeachment process, should we come to that, would be separate from the criminal process, though evidence that is presented in criminal proceeding may be examined by the Legislature as well,” she said.
The lawmaker said when there are executive abuses of power, whether through corruption, neglect of duty, or commissions of felonies, the Legislature has a constitutional duty to respond.
“The issues at stake go beyond party lines and loyalties. We are talking about our Constitution, public trust, and the integrity of our government,” she said.
The FBI is looking into multiple possible violations of federal laws that involve Torres, his family, and Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC, and other persons, resulting in the execution of search warrants on several sites last Nov. 7 and 8.
In February 2013, the House impeached then-governor Benigno R. Fitial on charges of corruption, felony, and neglect of duty. Fitial resigned on Feb. 20, 2013, days after he was impeached.