Five members of the “minority” bloc of the Senate on Friday said that they would not withdraw the airport lawsuit earlier filed against Minister of Public Infrastructure, Industries, and Commerce (MPIIC) Charles Obichang, stating that the issue is better resolved by the court.

At the same time, however, the lawmakers apologized to the leaders for the choice of words they used for describing the national leadership meeting where the issue of the airport project lawsuit was brought up.

The senators were responding to Obichang’s letter last week requesting a meeting to discuss the issues related to the Airport Expansion Project in the hopes of ending the dispute on the issues raised by the lawmakers about the project.

Obichang said that his letter is a follow up from the discussions during the national leadership meeting last week, where Paramount Chief Yutaka “Ibedul” Gibbons urged both parties to address the feud without going to the court.

However, in an April 5 letter to Obichang, Senators Regis Akitaya, Camsek Chin, J. Uduch Senior, Rukebai Inabo also apologized for “any offense at the choice of words we used in describing the nature of a meeting in a newspaper article.”

The senators said although they appreciate Obichang extending the invitation to meet, “we have been advised by our attorney that because this matter is currently pending in court, it is best that we allow the court to resolve the issue.”

The lawmakers, although did not agree to meet Obichang, however, apologized to Chief Ibedul; Rubekul Belau, President Tommy Remengesau Jr. Senate President Hokkons Baules, Speaker Sabino Anastacio, governors, speakers and all public officials present in the leadership meeting.

Ibedul encouraged the senators to consider withdrawing the lawsuit to avoid a negative image for Palau.

Obichang is named the defendant in the lawsuit filed by the five senators in January on the minister’s alleged violation of the Open Government Act for refusal to hand over requested documents involving the airport expansion project. (Bernadette H. Carreon/Contributor)