August 28, 2012
Be assured that the courageous members of the House who drew up the articles of impeachment had legal advice to ensure that the articles were indeed impeachable acts.
Demapan claimed that the articles of impeachment were designed to "smear the governor". Au contraire! The governor has smeared himself and has smeared the reputation of the CNMI. He is the butt of jokes in Washington, DC.
Demapan was quoted as saying, “No one in Commonwealth history has been so thoroughly and unfairly scrutinized as Governor Fitial." A more accurate statement would be, "No one in Commonwealth history has created more havoc, been involved in more corrupt deals, disrespected the people more, or mocked the law more than Governor Fitial!"
Any member of the CNMI Legislature who supports Fitial in impeachment procedures is supporting the corrupt system, supporting pillaging the public coffers, and supporting the total collapse of the CNMI.
If the impeachment resolution does not gain enough votes, surely the people of the CNMI will recall the governor.
In addition to the impeachment resolution, the Office of the Public Auditor may be filing criminal charges against Fital for the illegal escort service provided on August 4th for former AG Buckingham, a fugitive from the law. Better yet, the USDOJ may be investigating since federal vehicles and equipment were used in the attempt to obstruct justice. A governor behind bars does not need to be impeached.
In fact, the legislature should not have to impeach the governor. He should resign. He should have resigned a couple of years ago. If he has any respect for the people of the CNMI, he will listen to their cries for impeachment and step down now.
If Angel wasn't off-island with Fitial globe trotting all the time, he might be more in touch with the sentiments of the people of the CNMI who are demanding impeachment.
A review of some of Fitial's bad behavior
Considering the long history of the governor's past questionable acts it is hard to believe that there is anyone who will stand behind him. Any person with a working moral compass will disassociate with the governor. (Take note Asian American and Pacific Island Republicans. You are hanging with a governor who is facing impeachment for seriously gross violations and corrupt acts.)
The governor has kept company with some shady friends and felons. Fitial was the former vice-president of Willie Tan's L and T garment empire, which was slapped with the largest labor fine in history, a whooping $1.7 million. Willie Tan's factories were known for their sickening and inhumane treatment of foreign workers. Tan was made famous for hosting a party on Saipan for junket traveler, former Republican Texan Congressman and convicted felon Tom DeLay.
Wille Tan and Fitial were key players in helping Jack Abramoff land a questionable lobbying contract that skimmed $11 million from the CNMI coffers. The convicted felon and former lobbyist needed Fitial in that position to renew a multi-million dollar lobbying contract so he set up a scheme to steal the speakership. While Fitial's co-conspirators, including Abramoff, Scanlon, Ring and others were convicted for their crimes, Fitial always managed to avoid arrest.
The governor wrote support letters to judges pleaing for leniency in the sentencing of his friends convicted felons Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff. He filled positions in his cabinet with convicted felons and criminals even in the CNMI Department of Public Safety.
In August 2012, a CNMI Superior Judge issued a $50,000 bench warrant for the arrest of Governor Fitial's former Attorney General Edward Buckingham. While still the CNMI's Attorney General, Buckingham attempted to avoid being served a penal summons to answer to criminal charges, all related to Fitial dealings. The governor allegedly dispatched a squad of thugs –on-duty, high ranking CNMI public safety officers – to the Saipan International Airport to obstruct justice in an attempt to shield the AG from being served the summons. While "protecting" the AG, the thugs assaulted a KSPN new reporter who was trying to cover the story. Two FBI agents finally were able to serve the lawbreaking Attorney General, who is still "on vacation" in California and refuses to return to the CNMI to face charges.
The governor is a corrupt opportunist. In fact, he left the Republican Party to start the Covenant Party in order to get elected. When he decided it would be more opportune to rejoin the Republican Party, he bullied his way in and schemed his way to the top trading positions for votes. What he did was to weaken the original Republican party and increase divisions in the CNMI. His own Lt. Governor Eloy Inos is still a member of the Covenant Party. His former Lt.Governor Timothy Villagomez is serving time in federal prison as a convicted felon.
This Republican Governor's antics are incredible. He clearly believes that he is above the law. In 2010 the governor authorized the release of a federal prisoner to be brought to his mansion for a midnight massage. Shortly after that scandal, it was revealed that the governor's Commissioner of the Department of Corrections was allowing her convicted-prisoner husband weekend furloughs.
In October 2010 it was revealed that the governor assigned his cabinet members to host political campaign parties for his candidate for U.S. House Delegate, Joseph Camacho in violation of the federal Hatch Act. Those sponsoring campaign parties included AG Buckingham and the Office of the Attorney General. The U.S. Office of the Special Counsel declared that "the evidence suggests that Mr. Buckingham violated the Hatch Act by using the authority of his office to support a partisan political candidate." Unfortunately, that office decided not to prosecute.
In August 2012, the CNMI Office of the Public Auditor filed criminal charges against Fitial's Attorney General Edward Buckingham for violations during the 2010 election. The charges also included his involvement in the illegal issuing of an ARRA contract to the former Secretary of Finance, Michael Ada, another Fitial pal. In July 2011 the Department of the Interior's Inspector General stated that there was an appearance of a federal crime in the issuance of the ARRA contract.
Under the Fitial Administration, murder and rape cases have gone unsolved, police officers and even the former commissioner were allowed to use their position to abuse citizens and break the law. One officer brutally beat an innocent foreign worker and the commissioner threatened to shoot an innocent citizen. Both are currently working in CNMI law enforcement agencies.
More recently the governor and former AG Buckingham penned a secret $190 million agreement with a five-day-old unknown Delaware LCC to build a diesel power plant on Saipan. One of the key players is said to be a convicted felon.
As a human rights advocate, I find that Governor Fitial's ill treatment of the CNMI's legal foreign worker community to be one of his most abhorrent acts. Xenophobic rallies, hateful remarks and anti-alien worker legislation define this governor's position on the foreign workers who have contributed so much to the CNMI, while enduring decades of routine wage theft and abuses.
Most of the legal, long-term foreign workers have been in the CNMI so long that they have no "home" to return to, yet they face an uncertain future as the governor pushes for their removal. The Fitial Administration pushed to block U.S. citizen children of legal foreign workers from receiving food stamps.
How can anyone declare that this governor does not deserve to be impeached?