Virginia C. Villagomez, who was terminated Thursday as special assistant for the Office of Management and Budget, said over the weekend that she exited the position knowing she has safeguarded the integrity of the budget process of the CNMI.
In a statement, Villagomez said she understands that she serves at the pleasure of the governor in her position as OMB special assistant.
She extended her appreciation to her staff at the OMB, Capital Improvement Program, and the Hazard Mitigation and Public Assistance programs.
Citing only “the interest of the Commonwealth,” Gov. Ralph DLG Torres terminated Villagomez last week effective immediately.
Villagomez gave credit to the late governor Eloy S. Inos who, according to her, undoubtedly gave her the opportunity to be a public servant under his leadership during his tenure as the director of the Department of Finance in 1989.
“I am proud to have been mentored by him until his passing,” she said.
When asked during a radio press briefing Friday to elaborate on the reason for Villagomez’s termination, Torres said anyone appointed as a special assistant for the OMB shall serve at the pleasure of the governor and may be removed by the governor with or without cause.
With that, Torres said, he just decided to go ahead and release Villagomez from her post and have this administration move forward.
He said he will be appointing someone as interim SA for OMB.
There were speculations on social media that her termination may have been politically motivated. Villagomez is the partner of former Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services commissioner Claudio Norita, who supports the candidacies of Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios and Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang as governor and lieutenant governor, respectively, in the upcoming November 2022 general elections.