Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios accompanied members of the ruling Republican Party, many of them incumbents, in filing their candidacies yesterday afternoon with the Commonwealth Election Commission in Susupe for the Nov. 3 general election.
CEC executive director Julita A. Villagomez and CEC administrative officer Kayla Igitol received the GOP’s candidacy documents.
In a later interview, Torres the Republic Party’s slate for the upcoming polls is a mix of incumbents and new faces. “I look forward working with them and continue the leadership that we have,” he added.
With many people joining them to show their support, Torres said the Republican Party wants to continue what they have been doing to make sure that the CNMI is the safest place in the world from the coronavirus. He said the COVID-19 situation in the CNMI is being closely monitored, with a priority on people’s health.
Torres credits current efforts to combat the pandemic in the CNMI for the CNMI’s early success and that they need to continue that leadership to make sure that health is a priority.
At the same time, he said, they want to move forward in trying to bring tourists back and balance that out.
Torres expects GOP candidates to dominate the Nov. 3 elections once more.
“With our success with COVID-19, our people here are safer than anywhere else in the world,” the governor said.
As for the GOP not fielding a candidate to challenge Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan’s (Ind-MP) candidacy, Torres said there is one person who is interested but, at this point, no wants to file his or her candidacy.
The deadline to submit one’s candidacy is tomorrow, Wednesday.
In a separate interview, Lt. Gov. Palacios said he and Torres were at CEC to support their candidates. “We’re looking forward to a successful election this coming November,” Palacios said.
House Speaker Jonathan Blas T. Attao, who is seeking a fourth term as representative for Precinct 3, said they will try to fix the financial problem in the CNMI, especially the retirees’ 25% pension benefits.
“We want to try to complete that out before we move to the next step. The retirees need to be secured of funds,” Attao said.
The speaker said the $15 million in annual casino license fee will take care of the retirees’ 25% pension.
On top of that, Attao said, they need to get the remaining three pay periods that have not been paid out to the retirees, which is April 15, April 30, and May 15.
He said they need to get those money out to make the retirees’ pensions full again so they can take care of their obligations.
The speaker said this current Legislature has to finish its work first before they start thinking of moving on to the next step. “But, obviously, the problems that we face in the CNMI, we need to come out with different types of solutions and be creative in providing opportunities for our people,” Attao added.
On Saipan, the GOP candidates for Precinct 1 are Rep. Joseph Leepan Tenorio Guerrero, Rep. Roman Cepeda Benavente, the governor’s chief of staff Angel Aldan Demapan, acting special assistant for Youth Affairs Roy Ada, and Randall Dexter Pangelinan.
Reps. Janet U. Maratita and Luis John Castro, who ran as Republicans in 2018, are seeking reelection as independents.
Precinct 1 has six House available seats.
For Precinct 2, House floor leader Rep. John Paul P. Sablan is running with CNMI Museum director Daniel I. Aquino.
For Precinct 3, Attao and Reps. Ivan A. Blanco, Ralph N. Yumul, Jose Itibus, and Marco T. Peter are seeking reelection.
For Precinct 4, Rep. Joel Camacho is running, along with former police officer Cecilia Taitano.
For Precinct 5, vice speaker Rep. Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero is seeking reelection. Both precincts 4 and 5 have two House seats each.
Of the 20 House seats, 13 are held by Republicans and seven by independents.
For the Saipan Senate, incumbent Sen. Sixto Kaipat Igisomar is seeking reelection.
For Tinian, the GOP candidate for the House is Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission chair Patrick H. San Nicolas and Karl King Nabors for the Senate.
Tinian Republicans Rep. Antonio Borja and Sen. Francisco Borja are not seeking reelection.
On Rota, the GOP bet for the Senate is Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services Commissioner Dennis James Camacho Mendiola and Commonwealth Ports Authority board member Barrie Toves for the House.
They are running against the independent incumbents Sen. Paul A. Manglona and Rep. Donald M. Manglona.