The Rift

December 6, 2010

Is it big enough to call it Rift-Gate? Maybe. The two haven't spoken since July 2010, six months ago.

CNMI Governor Benigno Fitial and Lt. Governor Eloy Inos have reportedly been at odds since July, 2010 when Governor Fitial reinstated Ambrosio Ogumoro to Deputy Secretary of DPS after Lt. Governor Inos terminated him while the governor was off-island.  The same scene repeated last month.

Today Lt. Governor Inos said that Fitial used his daughter, Kaye Inos, as an excuse to explain the rift. According to the Saipan Tribune:
Inos said he was “surprised” and it was “unfortunate” that Fitial used the resignation of the lieutenant governor's daughter in July to explain Inos's concurrence on Ogumoro's termination twice while the governor was off-island.

“I'm surprised he made that statement. If that's how he felt, I couldn't speak for him but certainly it's not what motivated me to concur with the termination,” Inos told Saipan Tribune in a phone interview.

Inos, a former Finance secretary and Fitial's friend since the Trust Territory days, said there's “abundant evidence and records that there have been grievances filed against Mr. Ogumoro for his actions and inactions.”

“There have been substantiated allegations sufficient for us to weigh whether or not to (terminate) Mr. Ogumoro for that reason, and not because of my daughter. She's a grownup. It's unfortunate the governor decided to use that to explain this thing. That certainly is not the case,” Inos said.

“I'm just talking about fairness to help the people and not only a few, and we need to do that. If he's willing to do that, I'm amenable to work together. We have to be on the same page. We may differ on issues but the execution of policies we need to be on the same page,” he said.
Inos also said that he disagreed with the governor's hiring policies and the awarding of the no-bid, sole-source contract to former Commerce Secretary Michael Ada to do the same ARRA-related responsibilities he was conducting under Commerce.

Inos told the Tribune: “I was just hoping these contracts go through the normal procurement process. I'm not saying they're inappropriate. But the governor is the governor.”

Well yes, the governor is the governor.

While Fitial was in California last month, Inos did not renew Ogumoro's expired contract. Yet, once again when the governor returned, he stated that he intended to reinstate the former controversial range master.  However, DPS reports that they have received no paperwork concerning his reinstatement.

Fitial obviously dictates not just the cabinet, but he micromanages all departments and hiring, placing chosen loyal supporters, even felons, in key positions.

Inos, the former Secretary of Finance, was chosen to be Fitial's Lt. Governor in April 2009 after former Lt. Governor Timothy Villagomez resigned in connection with the Rydlyme scandal.  Inos and Fitial's ties go back to when they both worked for garment magnate Willie Tan.  Both were involved with the Abramoff-CNMI lobbying schemes.
Tenorio Intends Remain Speaker

Meanwhile,  Froilan Tenorio has decided he will remain as Speaker, reportedly because Governor Fitial asked him to remain.  Over the last year Tenorio has threatened to resign from the position several times, and then changed his mind. Many are said to be awaiting his exit.

According to the Saipan Tribune:
Tenorio and members of the current leadership had a breakfast meeting with Fitial yesterday.

“What they told me, if I step down, then the Covenant will lose the leadership, and the minority will take over,” he said in an interview shortly before 5pm.

Tenorio said while they lost Torres and Rep. Teresita Santos (Ind-Rota) to the minority, he expects to have Rep. Eli Cabrera (R-Saipan) and Rep. Joseph Palacios (R-Saipan) to vote for him should he accept a re-nomination when there's a motion for reorganization.

Both Cabrera and Joseph Palacios attended the breakfast meeting with Fitial.

The majority does not expect vice speaker Felicidad Ogumoro (Cov-Saipan) to muster the majority votes as next speaker should Tenorio step down, and this is why the governor and the members of the majority want Tenorio to stay put.


Anonymous said...

It's time for Fitial to leave. Let's hope Inos is helping him pack his bags.

Anonymous said...

Governor Fitial's term expires Monday, January 12, 2015. N.M.I. Const. art. VIII, § 4.

If he retires before Sunday, January 12, 2014, a special election would be required. N.M.I. Const. art. III, § 7. If he waits until then or later to step down, Lt. Governor Inos would simply succeed to the position. Id.

It might be a long three to four years with Benigno Repeki Fitial, the seventh Governor of the CNMI, at the helm.

Anonymous said...

And what happens if he (Fitial)gets recalled, impeached,or best yet if he gets indicted and convicted of some crime?
We will have a special election?
I can see the candidates already lines up staring with Tenorio, then Babauta on down the line.
Every past Gov and Lt Gov will throw their hat in the ring.
We will get the same old misfits from past and present.
I do believe though that Inos would probably win.
Don't know if that is good or bad, but it has to be better than what we have now as it is just possible he would clean out the "rats nests" and the Mafia.
We all can only hope for change before the NMI is buried in this gross incompetence.