Sweet and Sour

October 31, 2011

One would expect that a legislator arrested for trafficking illegal drugs would immediately apologize and step down from office. One would expect that the governor would express disappointment with his "friend" and elected leader from his political party. Not this legislator and not this governor.

The Marianas Variety reported that Governor Fitial hopes that his "close friend" Rep. Raymond D. Palacios “gets cleared and gets out of it.”

DPS personnel revealed that the lawmaker sold $200 worth of ice to a confidential source on October 19, 2011.

Last week Rep. Palacios made his own shocking statements to the Variety, excusing his drug trafficking by saying he "helped out some family members by giving them the drugs, not selling drugs to them" and some other outrageous statements.

“Anyone involved in drug trafficking is literally poisoning the members of the community and that is unacceptable and DPS will never tolerate such actions."
If nothing else, the governor is a loyal friend to his criminal colleagues and pals. He also expressed sympathetic sentiments when former Lt. Governor and convicted felon Timothy Villagomez was arrested; when his body-guard/driver was arrested for dealing drugs from the governor's vehicle; and when his buddy, former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), was convicted.  The governor wrote a letter of support to the judge on behalf his pal, convicted felon Jack Abramoff and also penned a character letter for his dear friend, felon Tom DeLay.

While caring and empathetic to his criminal friends, the governor is cold and heartless to the plight of the foreign workers. He questioned the character and motives of immigration attorney Loida Nicolas Lewis.

Fitial told the Marianas Variety:
“We better check if she has the license or authority to say that,” he said, referring to U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance chairwoman Loida Nicolas Lewis, an industrialist and philanthropist.

Fitial said whoever is saying that overstayers in the CNMI cannot be deported right away, “is just looking for business here.”

The governor said his administration is now working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement with regards to overstaying nonresidents.
In a Saipan radio interview last week Attorney Nicolas-Lewis informed alien workers of their constitutional right to due process concerning threats of deportation after November 27, 2011.

“The United States is very fair. We are as strong a democracy as any. We’re not perfect. But that’s what I want to assure workers in Marianas Islands, not to be afraid. You are under the mantle of the constitution of the United States.”


Green Cards for All said...

From the CNMI Election Commission website, these are the 2009 Precinct 2 election results for the CNMI House of Representatives, 17th Commonwealth Legislature:

494 Raymond Demapan Palacios (Cov.)
381 Rafael Sablan Demapan (Cov.)
347 Eric Benavente Atalig (Rep.)
323 Manuel Agulto Tenorio (Rep.)
155 Ramon Benavente Aldan (Ind.)
125 Henry Ayuyu Torres (Ind.)

Congressman Palacios may be expelled by a 3/4 vote of the House of Representatives for commission of a felony or violation of the rules of that house. N.M.I. Const. art. II § 14(a).

Or he may resign, which would be the honorable action to take. I say this as someone who voted for him, and who highly respects his father, who was a sacristan at the Cathedral. Resignation would weigh in his favor at sentencing as “acceptance of responsibility” in both federal and local courts. He should also consider rehab, if appropriate based on recency of usage.

In either case, upon a vacancy with less than half a term remaining (about 14 months of an unusual 3-year term created to bring local elections in sync with the federal election cycle), the next highest vote-getter who is willing to serve shall be appointed by the governor to fill out the term. N.M.I. Const. art. II § 9.

Eric Atalig is next in line. He is a good man, undoubtedly not as close to Governor Fitial as Rep. Palacios has been. Because of his relationship with PSS Counsel Kelley Butcher, he could be expected to be sympathetic to PSS issues.

Anonymous said...

This is absurd, yet expected. It's politricks and deceit at its best.