‘We haven’t promised jobs to anyone’


David M. Apatang and Christina E. Sablan

A document was recently leaked on various social media platforms proposing a list of Cabinet members for an Arnold I. Palacios-David M. Apatang administration. Following the leak, the second half of the tandem, Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, assures the community that no jobs have been promised.

The leaked document, titled “Cabinet (discussed and proposed),” purports to show the potential makeup of a Palacios Cabinet:

• Chief of Staff, Clyde Norita;
• Secretary of Finance, Jose Mafnas;
• Secretary of Labor, Priscilla Iakopo;
• Commissioner of Public Safety, James Deleon Guerrero;
• Secretary of Public Works, Richard Lizama;
• Secretary of Lands and Natural Resources, Pete Reyes;
• Secretary of Public Lands, Ray Yumul;
• Commissioner of Corrections, George Camacho;
• Commissioner Fire and Emergency Medical Services, Steve Mesngon;
• Special Assistant for Homeland Security, Delbert Pua;
• Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality Administrator, Danny Buniag;
• Press Secretary, Leila Staffler;
• Director Office of Planning and Development, Tina Sablan;
• Secretary of Community and Cultural Affairs, Lauren Pangelinan;
• Special Assistant Management and Budget, Franklin Babauta;
• Zoning Administrator, Steve Woodruff or Dan Chase.

In addition to the list of hires, the document also stated that the salary offered to each individual must be at least $75,000 and the law would be amended as needed.

When asked about this, Apatang said he and Palacios have not promised jobs to anyone “That list is false, we never promised anyone anything. You know, some of those people on social media from the other side are always trying to penetrate and create confusion. To be clear, we never promised anyone a job,” he said.

Apatang further stated that if he and Palacios were to announce a set of Cabinet members, the community would know and that it would be announced the right way.

“We don’t know, and haven’t decided on any Cabinet members. We can’t do that, it’s premature. I just want to remind the people of the CNMI not to believe everything the other camp is saying and the things that they put out on social media about us. If we were going to put out our chosen Cabinet members, the community would know it’s real because we would do it the right way and it would come directly from us, AD,” he said.

Apatang said the leaked document is just a means to create confusion in the community for the upcoming runoff election. He urges the community not to fall for it.

“A lot of the pages that are putting out information like this are fake; fake names releasing erroneous information in an attempt to create confusion in the community and within the AD team. But, we’re not going to stand for this. Again, we never promised anyone anything,” Apatang said.

When asked about the matter, Sablan issued the following statement: “Neither Leila [Staffler] nor I, have had any discussion with Arnold [Palacios] and Dave [Apatang] about appointments for ourselves in their administration. We are not jockeying for jobs.”

Sablan said their primary concern is “ensuring that we see the change in leadership that we need in the Marianas, and encouraging everyone who supported us in the general election on Nov. 8 to now give their support to Arnold and Dave in the runoff. The Unity Pledge that we signed with Arnold and Dave last week outlines our shared values and priorities, and the tangible commitments that Leila and I, and Arnold and Dave have agreed will be carried through in a Palacios-Apatang administration.”

She said that Torres and his GOP operatives’ move of coming up with the list and circulating “all kinds of false information and rumors only shows their desperation.

“I encourage all our supporters to stay the course. Don’t be fooled. Don’t be baited. Please ask us directly if you have any questions about the rumors the GOP is planting to sow division. Please vote in the runoff election between now and Nov. 25. And please vote for the change we need. The only choice for change on the ballot is Arnold and Dave.”

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores 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.
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.