Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres

SAIPAN (THE GUAM DAILY POST) — Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Governor Ralph Torres’ request to dismiss the articles of impeachment against him will be up for a CNMI Senate decision Friday. 

A Senate decision to dismiss would end a historic impeachment trial before it could even begin.

Tuesday’s senate hearing was on the governor’s motion to dismiss, and not the actual impeachment trial.

For hours, those who support and oppose the governor’s impeachment filled the gallery and some of them made their views heard during a public comment period.

Later, Torres’ private attorney Anthony Aguon urged senators to dismiss the articles of impeachment that the CNMI House of Representatives lodged against Torres, citing an alleged rush to judgment and violation of law and Torres’ due process rights under the constitution.

“The issue before you is not about whether Governor Torres should be impeached – we aren’t even there yet – rather it’s about the fact that to do so it must be done correctly and constitutionally and follow due process,” Aguon told senators.

He also alleged that the House special committee on impeachment failed to conduct any investigation, failed to require evidence and failed to officially adopt any Judiciary of Governmental Operations testimony or evidence, among other issues.

Torres, 42, is seeking re-election. 

Rep. Tina Sablan, who’s also a gubernatorial candidate, said the governor’s motion to dismiss speaks not at all to the merits of impeachment but mostly based on more technicalities and based on her.

“It’s classic deflection but also revealing. It shows so much about the governor’s lack of actual defenses against the volumes of evidence pointing to his abuses of power and misuses of public funds,” she said.

She said there’s enough evidence for 15 House members to impeach Torres, and enough evidence for the attorney general to file criminal charges against him.

Torres has also been criminally charged by the CNMI attorney general with 12 counts of misconduct in public office, one count of theft and one count of contempt for failure to appear in compliance with a subpoena.

The allegations in the criminal case and in the articles of impeachment have similarities…. PACNEWS

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