Standing Up Against Corruption

October 13, 2012

Rally Against Corruption, October 21st, 10:00AM
Microl Intersection, San Jose, Saipan

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." –Elie Wiesel

Corruption in the CNMI is so common that it has poisoned almost every CNMI agency, and all agencies in which the puppet master governor has placed his puppets in positions of authority. It is frightening that corruption permeates the Office of the Attorney General, the Department of Public Safety, and the Commonwealth Ports Authority. Frightening, dangerous and a serious threat to public safety and democracy.

Over the last year more citizens and elected leaders have stood up to take a public stand against corruption. The Office of the Public Auditor has lead investigations that have uncovered legal and ethical violations, people have come out to rally against corruption, and impeachments hearings against Governor Fitial continue in the House.

But perhaps no one has been more vocal than Glen Hunter. He has come out with strong statements in the press, has testified at Governor Fitial's impeachment hearings, led rallies supporting impeachment and now has filed a lawsuit against Governor Fitial and acting Attorney General Viola Alepuyo in the CNMI Superior Court.

The lawsuit states that the pair are violating the CNMI Constitution. By law, the governor must submit the name of the acting AG to the Senate for approval within 30 days of the appointment.  Governor Fitial appointed Viola Alepuyo as acting Attorney General on August 13, 2012. The governor failed to take any action in submitting her name to the "Senate president for advice and consent of the Senate as required by law."

The lawsuit states that Alepuyo's occupation of the position of acting Attorney General is illegal. It accuses the governor and Alepuyo with illegal expenditure of public funds and breach of fiduciary duty, and additionally accuses Fitial of breach of trust.

The lawsuit (below) questions “whether any payment to Alepuyo for salaries, benefits, travels, and/or reimbursements, is a constitutional, lawful, fair, and/or just expenditure of public funds for a public purpose.” It requests the court to grant  a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against Alepuyo.

According to the law, the title of "acting Attorney General" can be taken in a literal sense –Alepuyo is just acting since she has no authority to hold that position. 

It is pathetic that the past two attorneys that have been appointed by Governor Fitial to head the Office of the Attorney General do not themselves appear to understand or uphold the law.

Alepuyo could be seen representing and coaching witnesses at the impeachment hearing.  KSPN News reported that there could be serious problems with the OAG attorneys representing government employees who are impeachment hearing witnesses and coaching them to invoke their Fifth Amendment rights.  How can the OAG file charges against witnesses who have obviously broken the law, if they are also representing and protecting them? Why hasn't the OAG filed charges against the thug-police officer/s who assaulted Tina Sablan at the airport and for aiding and abetting a fugitive?

Alepuyo announced weeks ago that she would hold a press conference to discuss the January 2012 murder of Emie Romero. She failed to do so. Was it because she feared questions about her illegal occupation of her position as acting Attorney General? The people of the CNMI, including the family of Emie Romero, deserve a qualified Attorney General who respects and upholds the law and puts the good of the public before personal self-interest, political games or the wishes of the puppet master governor.

In a press statement, Glen Hunter stated:
Today I filed a taxpayer complaint against Governor Fitial and the Acting Attorney General, Viola Alepuyo. I filed the case Pro Se. The case number is CV 12-0239. 
 Attached are the filed documents. 
This is yet another misdeed in an already long line of abuses and neglect of duty that has been committed by Governor Fitial and the highest law enforcement officer in the CNMI, the Acting Attorney General. 
As of August 13, 2012 Governor Fitial appointed Viola Alepuyo as Acting Attorney General. While the governor has the limited ability to appoint a temporary AG, 1 CMC § 2902 required that Fitial submit Viola's nomination to the Senate within 30 days and that the Senate act on it within 90 days or Viola must vacate the position. 
 § 2902. Appointments: Legislative Consent Required. Appointments to positions which require the advice and consent of the Senate, or the Senate and House, or which require the advice and consent of members of senatorial districts shall be submitted to the appropriate presiding officer within 30 days following the date the person was temporarily appointed. If the Senate (or, when applicable, the House) is in recess at the time of submission, the appointment shall go over to the next regular session for appropriate action unless a special session is called. 
It has now been over 2 months since his temporary appointment of Viola Alepuyo and he has neglected his duty to appoint her to the Senate for confirmation processing. She continues to hold that seat illegally as this is a direct violation of CNMI law and has been an illegal expenditure of public funds for the period after the initial 30 days. 
What makes this case even more upsetting is that, of all people, the individuals involved (Governor an the AG) should be fully aware of the laws and statutes of the CNMI. We as citizens rely on them to uphold our laws, however, as has been documented as of late, that has not been occurring. This incident is yet another blatant disregard of the rule of law. 
Because of such violation in the face of a recent history of similar violations of public trust at the hands of the Governor and the Office of the Attorney General, I have decided, as a concerned citizen, to file a lawsuit to attempt to remedy the situation and to hold the Governor and Acting AG accountable. 
It is my personal belief that this violation is strong enough and relevant enough to be included in the Articles of Impeachment, but since that ball is already rolling, I believe the judicial channel would be the more proper venue to shine the light on the continuing violations, seek remedy and further attest to a culture of lawlessness coming from this Governor. 
I have full faith in the merits of this case. I intend to finance it personally. 
I realize that there are so many important things going on right now in the CNMI. I just cannot, as a citizen, sit back and once again watch justice take a back seat to the Governor's personal whims and wants. 
As I watched the Assistant AGs and Viola, herself, sit by as counsels for the witnesses in the Special Committee on Impeachment Meetings I could not stomach it anymore. That alone was yet another violation of law and misuse of public resources. The constant breaches of justice at the hands of those entrusted to uphold the rule of law needed to be challenged. 
So long as the Attorney Generals Office is led by an unlawfully employed Acting AG they cannot be under proper direction and sound leadership and therefor the public's safety is at risk.
The constant breaches of justice at the hands of those entrusted to uphold the rule of law needed to be challenged. So long as the Attorney General’s Office is led by an unlawfully employed acting AG they cannot be under proper direction and sound leadership and therefore the public's safety is at risk."
BRAVO! (insert standing ovation, cheers, fireworks) GO GLEN!

I wish Glen much success with his lawsuit, his campaign against corruption and his efforts to establish a just and democratic CNMI. His courage and actions should act as a blueprint for every person who calls the CNMI his/her home.  Residents can take a stand against corruption by attending the rally on October 21, 2012 at 10:00AM at the Microl intersection in San Jose.  

Read the lawsuit:


Anonymous said...

Wasn't another temp AG also holding that position for about 1 year or longer.
I think it was Baka. My memory is not so good.
I also think I remember that Fitial tried to get him submitted and confirmed, but someone contested that one also.(not a law suit)
Although many of us though that Baka was not so good, I cannot remembered any AG as bad as Buckingham nor any Gov. as bad as Fitial.

Anonymous said...

We're all proud of you Glen. The fight has just begun!