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NMI Impeachment Committee May Vote On Articles Today
Fitial faces 18 articles, including neglecting to appoint key officials

By Haidee V. Eugenio

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Jan. 24, 2013) – Some articles of impeachment against Northern Marianas Governor Benigno R. Fitial could be voted on today, once the Special Investigating Committee on Impeachment adopts its rules and starts reviewing each of the articles starting with his failure to appoint for several months key government officials including a chief justice, Cabinet secretaries and board members. The governor can be impeached and convicted on only one of these 18 articles of impeachment.

Committee chair Rep. Tony Sablan (IR-Saipan) told reporters yesterday afternoon that these neglect of duty allegations are "clear cut."

"We will be voting on each article as we proceed," he said. "This means once the resolution is voted on the floor, the members will vote on each of the 18 articles of impeachment and not on the resolution as a whole."

Today is the first official meeting of the special committee tasked to review and make recommendations to the full House on a resolution impeaching Fitial for 18 allegations of corruption, neglect of duty, and felony.

The meeting will start at 9am, and will be held in the House chamber on Capital Hill. It is open to the public and is aired live on Channel 60.

Sablan said the committee meetings will be held every work day thereafter until Feb. 1.

Among the "neglect of duty" allegations are the governor's failure to appoint for several months a CNMI Supreme Court chief justice, Civil Service Commission members, Public Utilities Commission members, a Department of Public Lands secretary, a Department of Public Works secretary, and a Department of Public Safety commissioner.

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