Torres removes Towai as defendant in complaint vs JGO

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The Office of the Governor and Gov. Ralph DLG Torres has filed an amendment to his initial complaint against the House of Representatives Judiciary and Governmental Operations Committee to remove House sergeant-at-arms Pedro Towai as a defendant in the lawsuit.

The amended complaint was filed in Superior Court yesterday by Torres’ lawyers Joseph E. Horey and Gilbert Birnbrich. Aside from the removal of Towai as a defendant in his capacity as house sergeant-at-arms, the lawsuit against the JGO Committee remains the same.

In addition to the amended complaint, Horey and Birnbrich also issued an amended summons, giving the JGO committee 14 days to respond to Torres’ complaint.

“If you fail to file an answer in accordance with this amended summons, judgment by default will be taken against you for the relief demanded in the amended complaint,” the summons stated.

Last month, Torres and the Office of the Governor filed its lawsuit against the JGO committee over its decision to hold him in contempt. Torres wants the Superior Court to declare that the JGO Committee’s subpoena served on the governor is invalid and unlawful.

Torres stated in his complaint that he is suing the JGO committee for violation of Commonwealth statute in issuing the subpoena, infringement upon the testimonial immunity conferred on him by the Commonwealth Constitution, lacking valid legislative purpose in violation of the Commonwealth Constitution, and usurping responsibilities constitutionally delegated to other executive offices in violation of the Commonwealth Constitution.

As relief, Torres has asked the court to quash the subpoena and stop the committee from enforcing it.

In addition, Torres demanded payment of costs incurred in filing the lawsuit.

Immediately after filing his suit, all five Superior Court Judges recused themselves from hearing Torres’ suit. Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexandro Castro then issued an order appointing former Superior Court associate judge Timothy Bellas to serve in the matter pro tempore, or for the time being.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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