Senate OKs bill to ban candidates for running for more than 1 public office

CNMI heads for special election to fill Yumul’s seat

Although senators only briefly announced Ray Yumul’s resignation from the Senate at yesterday afternoon’s session, they nevertheless passed a bill that once signed into law would prohibit the seven candidates who are already certified to run for two Senate seats in the Nov. 4 general elections to also run for a special election to fill the third Saipan senatorial seat that Yumul vacated.

As of yesterday, no senator prefiled or introduced a resolution commending Yumul for his almost two-year membership in the 18th Senate.

Sen. Pete Reyes (Ind-Saipan) introduced during session yesterday Senate Bill 18-66 and asked that the bill be placed on calendar for immediate action because of the urgency of the matter. All seven senators present agreed.

At 3:52pm, the bill co-authored by Sen. Jovita Taimanao (Ind-Rota) passed by a vote of 7-0.

The bill, if passed into law, would also cover all future elections. SB 18-66, now headed for the House of Representatives, prohibits a person from running for more than one public office in a general, local, or special election.

Same-day elections

At the same time, Saipan senatorial candidate and attorney Stephen C. Woodruff suggested in an Aug. 12 letter to fellow candidates for the same post to take a unified position to ensure that the special election will be held on the same day as the general election “in the most democratic and intelligent fashion” with three Senate seats to be filled and with seven candidates already on the race.

“If the governor waits just two weeks until Sept. 5 to issue the call for the special election, the special election can be held concurrently with the general election as I propose, and no legislative action is required,” Woodruff said yesterday.

Commonwealth Election Commission executive director Robert A. Guerrero also earlier suggested this option to hold the special election on the same day as the general election.

Holding the two separate elections in one day will save the government $70,000 to $80,000, which is the cost of one election.

Earlier, Reyes considered amending the law to allow the governor to waive the 60-day period for this year’s special election.

1 CMC 6503, “Time of Special Election,” provides that “Special elections subject to the call of the Governor shall be held on a date set by the Governor which shall be no less than 30 days nor more than 60 days from the date of the proclamation provided for in Section 6502. The Governor shall also set the time limit within which polling places may be designated and declarations of candidates and nominating petitions may be filed.”

Suggested proclamations

Woodruff, a former Senate legal counsel, suggests that when Gov. Eloy S. Inos calls for a special election, he should also proclaim that the currently certified candidates for the general election shall also be deemed candidates in the special election, among other things.

Also among Woodruff’s four suggestions for the governor’s proclamation is that there shall be no additional period for submission of nominating petitions for candidates for the special election, and that there shall be a single ballot for the general election and the special election.

Woodruff also suggested that the governor proclaim the unsuccessful candidate in the general election receiving the highest number of votes (i.e. the third highest vote-getter) as the declared winner of the special election.

Senate President Ralph Torres (R-Saipan), as of yesterday, has yet to send a formal letter to the governor notifying him of a vacancy at the Senate as a result of Yumul’s resignation as required by Article 8 Section 5 of the NMI Constitution.

Meanwhile, Woodruff said yesterday that he sent the Aug. 12 letter to six other Saipan senatorial candidates vying for two Saipan senatorial seats at the general elections.

Besides Woodruff, the other candidates are Oscar M. Babauta, Arnold I. Palacios, Rep. Janet Maratita (Ind-Saipan), Illuminada “Lumi” R. Bermudes, Justo S. Quitugua, and Jesus I. Taisague.

Woodruff said Quitugua and Taisague have expressed full agreement with his letter, while they were unable to deliver the letter to Bermudes until yesterday. The three other candidates, Woodruff said, have not responded to his letter.

Haidee V. Eugenio | Reporter
Haidee V. Eugenio has covered politics, immigration, business and a host of other news beats as a longtime journalist in the CNMI, and is a recipient of professional awards and commendations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental achievement award for her environmental reporting. She is a graduate of the University of the Philippines Diliman.

Related Posts

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.