Will They Do the Right Thing?

September 6, 2012


"I don't think there is ever a wrong time to do the right thing." Glen Hunter

The majority people of the CNMI agree that the "emperor has no clothes", the emperor being Governor, King, Dictator or whatever title you want to give Benigno Fitial. Finally, on September 4, 2012,  House Resolution 17-111 was filed, outlining 16 articles of impeachment against Governor Fitial for neglect of duty, corruption and acts of felony. The U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands became the first territory to file an impeachment resolution.

Surprisingly, despite the governor's numerous corrupt deeds that have contributed to the downfall of the CNMI, the public has remained passive. Except for comments in the online paper, a few letters to the editor and the online petition, little public outrage has been expressed. No protests, demonstrations or marches have been organized. Still a couple of courageous residents have stood up to urge the elected officials to impeach. CNMI residents Glen Hunter and Leila Staffler addressed legislators calling for impeachment action.

The failures of Governor Fitial are blatant. He has abused his power of office and committed outrageous crimes such as releasing a prisoner from jail for a massage and assisting the former AG to avoid being served a penal summons by surrounding him with on-duty police officers. He has utterly disgraced what remained of the already tarnished reputation of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

This week the CNMI House has created a bi-partisan committee to "review" the articles of impeachment. House Minority Leader Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero, who led the charges for impeachment was selected as its chairman by Speaker Eli Cabrera.

The committee has up to 30 days to review the articles and "come up with recommendations", but seriously that review should take no more than 30 minutes. Deciding whether the charges in the resolution rise to impeachment is like being assigned the task to decided if up is up, down is down, black is black or white is white.

The evidence against the governor is undeniable by any common sense standards. The problem is that few decisions in the CNMI are based on common sense or what is moral or right. Most decisions fall into other categories labeled and filed under, “this decision will advance my career”, “this decision will give me money”, this decision will mean jobs for family members”, this decision will get me elected”, “this decision will keep my own misdeeds hidden in the closet” or “this decision will fulfill my political ambitions”. Classifications like “this decision will advance the quality of life for the people of the CNMI” contain near-empty files.

The Marianas Variety reports that the impeachment resolution is now backed by 13 members of the House. A total of 14 are needed to impeach. The way that the members vote on this resolution will reveal their true characters. The way that they cast their votes will show whether their true allegiance is with the people of the CNMI or with a corrupt governor who attempts to maintain the status quo. Finally, in this election year where people have been stunned by the fall of the CHC, the CUC, the Retirement Fund and more, the way that the members vote may very well decide if they are re-elected.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

A question has been brought up about the vote for impeachment.
Generally the house is always missing members when the time comes for important controversial voting.
Many times the members leave the chamber just before the vote is taken.
Many times they do not even show up.
Now the question is, in the case of a vote concerning the impeachment, and the stipulated 14 votes to impeach, that number is set against the number of the full house of 20.
Now what happens if there are only say 14 people present or 10, 11 etc.?
Does there still have to be a total of 14 votes or can there be a majority of the actual people that are present?
It would be good to hear from a lawyer or someone knowledgeable on this one.

I can forsee some games being played on the day that an actual vote is scheduled to try and derail this thing if this is the case that absolutely 14 votes are needed
You can't trust any of the elected especially people like Ogomuro, Stanly and some other that are Fitial family and supporters.

Green Cards for All! said...

"The legislature may impeach those executive and judicial officers of the Commonwealth subject to impeachment under this Constitution. The house of representatives may initiate impeachment proceedings by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of its members and the senate may convict after hearing by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of its members." N.M.I. Const. art II, § 8 (emphasis added).

The provision does not refer to merely "members present" or "members voting".

Should there be a vacancy, "If less than one-half of the term remains, the governor shall fill the vacancy by appointing the unsuccessful candidate for the office in the last election who received the largest number of votes and is willing to serve or, if no candidate is available, a person qualified for the office from the district represented." N.M.I. Const. art II, § 9. So even the removal of a member, such as for drug trafficking, would not reduce the requirement for 14 votes in the House of Representatives.

Wendy Doromal said...

GCFA -Thanks for providing this!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this, I was not sure, but now I know we can expect for many "no show" on this important vote.
Even the ones that will "cross the line" verbally, may be MIA on the day of the vote so they will not get the votes necessary.
Watch and see. I hope that I am wrong.