The 14th Peleliu State Legislature opposing faction’s elected officers were sworn-in to office yesterday by Justice Honora Rudimch at the Palau Supreme Court. Sworn-in were Speaker Ngitchob Eufrasia Remeliik, Vice Speaker Jerry N. Singeo, and Floor Leader Renguul Donald Haruo.
14th Peleliu Legislature split into two factions on January 1, 2022, after failing to agree on the process to follow for convening the installation session.
The faction with five chiefs and three elected members consisted of Obakeldelolk Isao Singeo, Uchelsias Shallum Etpison, Obaklechol Peter Napoleon, Aderkeroi Postol Remeliik, Renguul Donald Haruo, and three legislators Eufrasia Remeliik, Jerry Singeo, Francis Remeliik argued that the other faction failed to follow the process by refusing to follow the Rules & Procedures of the last legislature as temporary rules of conduct.
Unable to compromise, this faction moved to the Council of Chiefs’ office next door and convened and organized, said Ngitchob E. Remeliik., following the standard process of using the Rules of Procedure from the 13th Legislature as temporary rules. After organizing, they requested Judge Salii to administer their oaths. According to affidavits filed at court, they were told that because there was a dispute, the judge will not give oaths to either party.
Meanwhile, the other faction consisting of seven (7) elected members with two chiefs proceeded to organize and elect officers. Justice Salii administered oaths to the legislators. Officers were sworn in with Billy Rekemel elected as Speaker, Alex Ngiraingas as Vice Speaker, and Umedib Rideb as Floor Leader.
The faction with Speaker Ngitchob E. Remeliik filed a Temporary Restraining Order to stop the faction with Billy Rekemel as Speaker from transacting business challenging that the two chiefs Obaklechol and Aderkeroi–Bastros Basilio and Kokichi Ngiraingas, did not follow the process and should not have been seated as chiefs.
The request for TRO was denied and the Rekemel faction proceeded to conduct business as the 14th Peleliu State Legislature majority.
The faction with Speaker Remeliik suffered a tragedy when one of the members passed away before getting sworn in. A special election was held to fill the vacancy and Legislator Sherry Dilbos Sisior won. She join the faction led by Remeliik. With eight (8) members, counting the two chiefs Obaklechol Peter Napoleon and Aderkeroi Postol Remeliik who were seated in the 13th Legislature as members, they were able to organize, elect officers, and get sworn-in to office.
With two sets of legislatures, both claiming majority, and legitimacy, the Office of Governor of Peleliu will be caught in the middle. Governor will either choose a faction to side with or wait for the outcome of the July 11th trial of the lawsuit filed in January against the Speaker Rekemel faction. (By: L.N. Reklai)