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CNMI governor acquitted by Senate

Wednesday 18 May 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Pacific Islands, Regional


CNMI governor acquitted by Senate
CNMI Governor Ralp DLG Torres. Photo: Office of the Governor of CNMI

The CNMI Senate has acquitted Gov. Ralph Torres of all six articles of impeachment against him, with all seven remaining senators voting strictly along party lines.

The proceedings this afternoon marked the end of an unprecedented impeachment trial at the Senate that was conducted sans prosecutors from the House of Representatives and with the Senate rejecting the entire House impeachment record.

Four Republican senators, led by Senate President Jude Hofschneider, all voted to acquit Torres of all six articles of impeachment.

These included; Commission of Felony for Theft of Utility Services, Commission of Felony for Theft, Corruption for Unlawful First Class and Business Class Travel, Corruption for Misuse of Government resources, Neglect of Duty for Negligence during Crisis, and Neglect of Duty for Contempt of the Legislature.

Sens. Karl King Nabors, Victor Hocog, and Francisco Cruz were the rest of the acquitting votes for Torres, while Sens. Edith Deleon Guerrero, Teresita Santos, and Paul Manglona voted to remove Torres from office.

Six votes were needed to remove Torres from office under the CNMI Constitution.

Deleon Guerrero and Santos are part of the Democratic Party, while Manglona is an independent coalescing with the Democrats.

The three, earlier this week, asked Hofschneider that they be recused from the impeachment proceedings as they await the Superior Court decision on a lawsuit filed by Manglona and two others questioning the Senate's impeachment procedures.

Two other senators-Sen. Vinson Vinnie Sablan and Justo S. Quitugua earlier recused themselves due to conflicts of interest.

In a statement following his acquittal in his impeachment trial at the Senate, Torres thanked the Senate and members of the community that supported him during the process.

"I would like to personally thank all the people who took the time to display their support, encouragement, love, and prayers. Most importantly, I want to thank them for their continued belief in my administration."

"I also want to thank the Senate for reviewing the factual information presented by my attorneys and the witnesses who provided testimony, for their diligence throughout the impeachment proceeding and entire process, and for making informed decisions. I am thankful that we can now move forward, and I can continue to work hard for the people of the Commonwealth," he added.