Senate confirms Staffler, 4 others


Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, left, and Lt. Gov. David M. Apatang, right, flank Corrections Commissioner Anthony C. Torres, second from left; Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Mary S. Sablan, center; and Indigenous Affairs Office resident executive Ross S. Manglona, second from right; after Palacios administered their oaths of office yesterday afternoon at the Office of the Governor’s conference room. (OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR)

The Senate confirmed yesterday the nomination of former representative Leila Haveia Fleming Clark Staffler to serve as secretary of the CNMI Department of Labor, as well as the appointment of four others for various Cabinet positions.

Leila Staffler

With eight senators voting “yes” to adopt the recommendations of the Senate Executive Appointments and Government Investigations Committee, Staffler was confirmed as Labor secretary, Mary Margaret “Maggie” Santos Sablan as Department of Community and Cultural Affairs secretary, Sylvan Olopia Igisomar as Department of Lands and Natural Resources secretary, Ross Hugh S. Manglona as Indigenous Affairs Office resident executive, and Anthony C. Torres as Department of Corrections commissioner.

Sen. Celina R. Babauta (D-Saipan), who chairs the EAGI Committee, said that Staffler has demonstrated at her confirmation hearing her commitment to lead in her capacity as Labor secretary and to learn and grow in the department, given the short time given her when she was appointed to the post.

On Sablan’s nomination, Babauta said the appointee is a retiree and actually grew up in DCCA. Babauta said there was no impediment in terms of Sablan’s background, or her educational and professional standings. She said everyone who testified at the confirmation hearing supported Sablan’s nomination. The EAGI Committee unanimously recommended Sablan’s nomination, Babauta said.

With respect to Igisomar’s nomination, she said the appointee practically grew up at the Division of Fish and Wildlife, which is under DLNR. Babauta said Igisomar attained higher education in the field that he loves—in fisheries and oceanic studies. She said the committee has found no impediments to delay his confirmation.

On Manglona’s nomination, Babauta said what struck her as interesting during the confirmation hearing was the appointee’s confidence in running and being able to lead the Indigenous Affairs Office to levels that they probably will never see or have not seen in the past.

Sylvan Igisomar

She said Manglona’s confidence in using federal grants to run the office is the type of leadership that they are looking for—resourceful and doing what they are asked for.

As for Torres’ appointment, Babauta said the nominee has served his entire career in the federal Bureau of Corrections, and his experience, demeanor, and professionalism during the confirmation hearing demonstrated his integrity.

She noted that they also heard from DOC employees how they have longed for true leadership and that Torres fits that position.

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
Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.