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May 15, 2008

More names for CNMI delegate to US House of Representatives

Since we posted a partial list of possible candidates for the CNMI's first non-voting delegate to the US House of Representatives, three more names have surfaced.

Because of the federalization law, CNMI voters will elect their first delegate to the US House on Nov. 4.

The nonvoting delegates in the US Congress receive the same pay levels given to US senators and members of the House, which is $169,300 per year.

Here is an updated list:

1. Pete A. Tenorio, the current CNMI resident representative to Washington, D.C.

2. Juan N. Babauta, former governor and former CNMI resident representative to Washington, D.C.

3. Greg "Kilili" Sablan, the current executive director of the Commonwealth Election Commission

4. Robert Torres, a former attorney general and now in private law practice

5. Lynn Knight, president of HANMI and publisher of Saipan Tribune

6. Finance Secretary Eloy Inos

7. Superior Court Associate Judge Juan T. Lizama (Read today's Saipan Tribune)

One more thing. Taotao Tano's Greg Cruz said he's not running for delegate. This is the same guy who said he's not looking for a government job.


Follow the Rules said...

§ 3307. Limitations on Political Activities.

A judge or justice of the Commonwealth may not:

(a) Make a direct or indirect financial contribution to a political organization or candidate;
(b) Hold an executive office in a political organization;
(c) Participate in a political campaign; or
(d) Become a candidate for elective public office without resigning judicial office at least six months before becoming a candidate.

1 CMC § 3307 (emphasis added).

Source: PL 6-25, § 3, ch. 3 (§ 3307).

Commission Comment: See also N.M.I. Const. art. IV, § 7, concerning limitations on activities of judges, and the Code of Judicial Conduct for the Commonwealth Judiciary and Procedure for Filing Grievances Involving Members of the Judiciary.

dominic said...

Kilili is hard to replace.

Anonymous said...

Lynn Knight? you gotta be kidding. here's a call for prayer vigil...to protect us from her.

Mandaragat said...

Pete A. is the one!

dekada lawyer said...

Other than Pete A, are any of these people confirmed candidates? Or is this just speculation? Or a little touting of favorites?

I've spoken with Robert Torres, so I know he is considering a bid (operative word: "considering").

The Election Commission is reported as preparing now for the November election. Doesn't that put Kilili in an awkward position -- such that he needs to resign in the next week or two if he wants to run?

Judge Lizama needs to resign practically immediately if he wants to run. Even then, it would be questionable whether he could be in compliance with the statutory provision cited by "follow the rules." On the other hand, I don't think the resign "six months before becoming a candidate" requirement is enforceable, and it may not even be constitutional.

Certainly political candidacy for elective office can be a ground for disqualifying a judge from continuing to serve as a judge. But any attempt to disqualify someone from seeking an office, or depriving voters of the opportunity to support that individual as a candidate for that office, based on the fact that the candidate served as a judge sometime within the six months preceding candidacy, conflicts with fundamental rights at the root of democratic governance: the right of citizens to seek public office, and the right of citizens to vote for the candidates of their choice.

Beyond this there are statutory interpretation questions. When does one become a candidate within the meaning of that statute? When one declares or when one is certified? In other contexts, it is the date of certification that is deemed the trigger. But in terms of protecting the integrity of the judicial function, it would appear essential that the judge step down before announcing any candidacy.

Obviously, the drafter of the statue felt a six-month rule was necessary to avoid potential appearance of impropriety for judges becoming candidates for elective office. Equally obviously, the drafter failed to fully consider the practical factors -- or at least made some assumptions of doubtful validity.

The resign-six-months-before-becoming-a-candidate standard provides a convenient bright-line guide to judges if the date for certification is considered the date of "becoming a candidate." Of course, that flies in the face of what might be a common understanding of what it means to be a candidate, but that really is not the point. The point is that it would be simply a matter of computing on a calendar what the required resignation date is.

This is where doubtful assumptions and inadequate contemplation of practical factors make their presence apparent. The assumption is that no judge would start campaigning, i.e. talking about their candidacy, earlier than six months before the date for certification set by the Election Commission. If this assumption is not correct, then the intended purpose of the statute in preserving judicial decorum and public perception of impartiality is not accomplished, as a judge in strict compliance with the statute might nonetheless be still sitting at the same time as talking up his or her candidacy. That would be unseemly, but arguably not offensive to the statute.

The practical factor inadequately considered is the possibility that the elective office to be sought may not even be available until less than six months prior to the date fixed by the election code for certification of candidacies. Such is the instant case of the newly created delegate position, but the same could apply with an unexpected vacancy in an office. Under such circumstances, compliance would be impossible, meaning either that no judge could run, or, that courts balancing values would have to read into the statute an exemption for impossibility -- a sort of "substantial compliance" test.

It is also possible a judge might not even decide to run until less than six months before the certification date.

It also may be that the drafter of the statute was somewhat of an ideological purist, who held the view, as a matter of principle and decorum, that no judge should seek elective office (in other words, should not think about it, and certainly not talk about it publicly) until at least six months had passed from the time the judge stepped down from the bench.

Read in this fashion, the statute is simply hortatory, not mandatory and directory. In other words, it is designed merely to provide guidance, but not to have teeth. Bark, but no bite.

Having digressed at length I will now return to the main topic. How about instead of this, you solicit from readers nominations of people they really would like to see run? People they would support if they were candidates?

Weird Elle said...

Dekada lawyer, we do have our latest poll (look to your right) in connection with the delegate seat.

Also, I was told that Lynn Knight has come to her senses and decided against running for delegate.

Anonymous said...

Lynn Knight would have been an interesting candidate. I assume that she wouldn't have run without Willie Tan's backing, and it would have been interesting to see how far that backing would have gone (especially when filtered through the Governor's allies) to overcome the perceived taboo against electing a haole. I don't think she would have won or that she would be the right choice. I just think her candidacy would have been interesting.

New Representatives said...

New is better...down with the OBN!

1. Tina Sablan
2. Ed Propste
3. Jessica Barcinas
4. Wendy Doromal
5. Mark Hanson
6. Att. King
7. Jane Mack
8. Karen Borja
9. Judge Manibusan
10.Efrain Camacho

Anonymous said...

new rep - There are some no BS straight shooters on your list.

bloggers gone wild said...

how bout the local bloggers for rep?

1. Lil
2. Bruce
3. Angelo

Anonymous said...

Who is Jessica and Att. King?

FYI said...

IDK King, but Jessica Barcinas is the Vice Principal of Marianas High School.

I have no idea if she is considering running, but if she does, she would be a fine representative of the Northern Marianas Islands.

Anonymous said...

I think Atty. King is Janet Han King, recently returned from law school whom I believe that the governor just appointed to the NMC Board of Regents. I think she was the former Miss CNMI. A smart and good person, although maybe not seasoned enough for rep. Maybe in the future.

Anonymous said...


Do you mean corrupted enough?

I think NMI experience is NOT what the NMI needs right now!!!!!!!!!

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

I would be the first Jedi candidate to ever seek office.

sidelines guy said...

karen borja is a bitter lump of shit...

and the rest of the current position seekers listed in this post are ass wrong for the washington job.

juan babauta is worthless

kilili isn't suave enough for d.c.

tenorio is all about himself, not the nmi

lizama is a fucking idiot (have you heard him speak?)

can lynn knight transfer her position as wicked witch of the west to wicked witch of the east?

robert torres isn't man enough to make a difference here, so why would he do it in d.c.? he's too cowardly to get his hands dirty.

fucking inos? are you kidding me? he's a tool.

and one more thing, all of the 'new representatives' have no shot at d.c. and would be terrible if they went.

wendy doromol? what do you think she would do? start the million midget march?

and jane mack? maybe for the department of depends...

strange but true said...

TINA SABLAN is the strongest candidate we could ever send to DC.

I would agree with sideliner that there are not many winners listed.

How about Cinta Kaipat if Tina does not run?

Anonymous said...

so sidelines guy, do you have someone in mind for the post?

dekada lawyer said...

I was going to ask sidelines guy who he would recommend, but I see anon has beaten me to it.

Wendy Doromal is a resident of Florida, so how can she be considered at all appropriate for a list of suggested candidates to represent the NMI in Congress?

Life experience and CNMI experience matter and do not automatically equate with being corrupted.

Seasoned means experienced in a manner relevant to making sound judgments of the type required and increasing the ability and likelihood of obtaining meaningful results.

Seasoned does not mean corrupted. Corrupted means corrupted. A truly seasoned individual is one who has demonstrated the ability to function in a corrupted environment without becoming corrupted herself or himself.

Seasoned means tested character. Now of course, if you want a corrupted politician, then, of course, you need one seasoned in the successful practice of corruption.

The Daily Yapper said...

I think our first delegate should be Mike Sablan. Think about it, he makes sense.

We've got someone who is both fair and honest with the CNMI's best interest at heart.

No Brainer.

Anonymous said...

Maybe that's why he resigned?

Anonymous said...

Mike Sablan said he's not going to run for office (including for delegate seat), at least not now or in the near future. Maybe, just maybe, if people ask him to,

Anonymous said...



Island Girl said...

"Experts"? In a democracy everyone gets to discuss the qualifications of the candidates and vote. This blog facilitates that discussion. What's the problem?

cactus said...

Dekada Lawyer is right about the judge statute. It is probably both unenforceable and unconstitutional.

I presume the reason for it is to ensure that the judge's decisions are not influenced by his political ambitions. It therefore seems particularly absurd to apply it to a situation like this where the political office to be sought did not even exist until last week.

Anonymous said...

Since then has he been dismissing more cases than ususal?

The Commonwealth has a valid interest in having judges untainted by political ambition.

Anonymous said...

I think Mike Sabaln would be the best candidate. at least we know he has principles.

If decides not to run, then I'd vote for john Gourley, at least he tells the truth!

Anonymous said...

Breaking News.

John Oliver Gonzales may also run for the delegate position with the backing of the Covenant Party.

Ray Yumul may run for the delegate position with the backing of Lt. Governor Tim Villagomez.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

At $170K/yr and all the loot you can acquire via the favor driven US Congress, there will be candidates galore......40 or 50 maybe. The chaff will make it a bit more difficult to find the handful of quality candidates but with a little patience, we can do it.

We want to be sure and send the right person there to stir up the pot, and not vote.

holy headpiece said...

are you still allowed to wear a mwar on a plane? if not, juan is gone from the running.

do you think all four of his viewers will still watch his d.c. based show if he gets the job?

Mr. Muna to you said...





Anonymous said...

Ombudsperson for Congressperson!

Anonymous said...

Dekada Shyster for delegate!

Anonymous said...

USSR Poon Dem B is the fellow for me!

Anonymous said...

Pamela S. Brown for Ombudsperson!

Anonymous said...

Juan T. Lizama for Attorney General!

Anonymous said...

Michael S. Sablan for Secretary of Finance!

Anonymous said...

Timothy P. Villagomez for Public Auditor! A pay raise to $100,000 for the Contract-Mover-in-Chief!

Anonymous said...

Eloy S. Inos for Lt. Governor!

Anonymous said...

Juan N. Babauta for CUC!

Anonymous said...

Juan N. Babauta for CUC!

Anonymous said...

Ed Propst for Governor. He'll really mix things up!

Recall now!

Biba Koruption!

Anonymous said...

Pedro A. Tenorio for Ed Propst!

geek goddess said...

Ray Yumul is running for delegate.

No kidding!

Anonymous said...

Ray Yumul is rumored to be running for federal office so he could avoid being deployed with his fellow soldiers.

If he could abandon his country and fellow soldiers at this time, what makes us think he will represent our interest fully.


The Yumadillo is unworthy of any public office ... or the uniform of an American soldier.

Last time around he deprived his constituents of representation and pocketed unearned CNMI public funds by hanging on to his House seat while he soldiered in Iraq.

He could and should have been thrown out of the House at that time, but no one had the guts to take action either in the House or in the courts (either way, he could and should have been removed).

Federal law protecting the jobs of deploying soldiers only gives them a right to return to their civilian jobs with a status equivalent to that they would have if they had remained on the job during the period of deployment, nothing more. It does not entitle them to continue to be paid for jobs they do not do, and certainly does not provide any "right" whatsoever to retain or return to an elective office.

Then he violated federal law and/or Army regulations by running for reelection while still on active duty, obtaining an unauthorized, invalid and improper "exemption" to do so through misrepresentations to his superior officers.

As a legislator, he also pandered to the baser instincts of his Chamorro and Carolinian colleagues and constituents by betraying his kalabayan half, sabotaging and undercutting their interests and aiding and abetting their oppressors and tormentors.

With character like that, it does not surprise this yumadillo watcher that he might desert comrade and country to pursue personal aggrandizement and lucre. H---, he probably even thinks he can run without resigning his House seat. The sad thing is, if the previous cycle is any clue, he might even get away with it. Coz nobody has the guts, courage, commitment to the public interest, and civic spirit to do something about it and demand accountability and responsibility.

Anonymous said...

John Oliver Gonzales is also running for this office.

Anonymous said...

Election statute would require Rep. Yumul to resign his post. Let him resign since he has done NOTHING impressive for the CNMI. No accomplishments whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

It appears that any restriction applies only to "Commonwealth" employment, and only to "serving in" rather than "campaigning for" such an office. Article II, Section 11 of the CNMI Constitution provides:

Section 11: Other Government Employment. A member of the legislature may not serve in any other Commonwealth government position including other elective office or an independent board, agency, authority or commission established by this Constitution or by Commonwealth law. A person, having been a member of the legislature, may not serve in any elective or appointive Commonwealth government position created by statute during the term for which he or she was elected, for a period of one year following the expiration of the term during which the position was created.

N.M.I. Const. art. II, § 11. The Delegate position being federal rather than "Commonwealth" employment, the foregoing constitutional provision would not prohibit a legislator from running for delegate without first resigning.

geek goddess said...

That's what i thought.

Even if the delegate position is not federal, Yumul can run for it without first resigning--or going on leave. Pretty much like an incumbent campaigning for reelection.

Anonymous said...

The Washington Rep is more like an incumbent, not a local legislator.

As for taking leave, that is a statutory question, rather than a constitutional one.

Perhaps someone has the specific section of the Commonwealth Code readily available? I understand Kilili has already taken leave from the Election Commission.

Anonymous said...

To answer my own question, the requirement that government employees take leave is set forth at Title 1, Commonwealth Code, Subsection 8245(i), which provides as follows:

§ 8245. Compensation of Certain Appointed Officials.

(i) Any Commonwealth government employee shall take a leave of absence from his Commonwealth government position immediately upon certification of his candidacy by the Board of Elections until such time that he is no longer a candidate for public office.

1 CMC § 8245(i) (emphasis added). By its terms, leave is not required until certification, though Kilili was wise to start as soon as he did, to avoid conflict issues. But the term "public office" does not differentiate between federal and local office, and the Commonwealth Elections Commission administers elections for both.

So it looks like Rep. Yumul will need to take leave starting in July or August through the election.

Note that Election Day, Tuesday November 4, 2008, is a Legal Holiday! 1 CMC § 6508. Those “lucky” CNMI employees!

Holiday Goer said...

§ 6508. Election Day: Holiday.

If an election is held on a day other than a Saturday or Sunday, the election day shall be a legal holiday within the Commonwealth or in the senatorial or election district.

1 CMC § 6508. But this year, it would have been a holiday anyway -- Citizenship Day. 1 CMC § 311.

It will be nice to get a four-day weekend some year!

dekada lawyer said...

Uh, people ---

CNMI Constitution, art. VIII, sect. 5:

Resignation from Public Office. An elected public official shall resign from office upon certification to be a candidate for another public office, if the term of the office sought begins before the end of the term of the office held.

CNMI Constitution, art. V, sec. 2:

Term of Office. The term of office of the resident representative shall be two years, except that on the second Monday of January 1990, the term of office of the resident representative shall be increased to four years. In the event that the United States confers the status of member or non-voting delegate in the United States Congress on the resident representative and such status requires a different term, the term of office of the resident representative shall be that required by such status.

U.S. Pub. L. 110-229, sec. 711:

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands shall be represented in the United States Congress by the Resident Representative to the United States authorized by section 901 of the Covenant To Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union With the United States of America (approved by Public Law 94-241 (48 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.)). The Resident Representative shall be a nonvoting Delegate to the House of Representatives, elected as provided in this subtitle.

No CNMI elected official (except Pete A, who is de facto an incumbent) can run for the delegate seat without first resigning their current office.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Steve.

So this means that any member of the legislature must resign "upon certification to be a candidate" for delegate. N.M.I. Const. art. VIII, § 5. While Rep. Yumul might try to quibble that "candidate for another public office" refers to Commonwealth public office rather than federal public office, the Dekada Shyster is undoubtedly correct.

Since more than one-half of the term of a member of the 16th Commonwealth Legislature House of Representatives would remain, once he resigns the vacancy would need to be filled by special election. N.M.I. Const. art. II, § 9.

Anonymous said...

Does Lil Hammerhead live in Precinct 3?

Anonymous said...

As Perdido.

geek goddess said...

thanks dekada lawyer. :-)

i guess luis crisostimo's candidacy isn't so bad after all.

Anonymous said...

So perhaps the hosts of this blog could modify their poll to reflect actual people running, rather than their wishful thinking and those who have said they are not?

Pedro A. Tenorio, Juan T. Lizama, Gregorio C. Sablan, Ray N. Yumul, and Luis P. Crisostimo.

Unlike some of the other rumors listed in the "poll", John Oliver Gonzalez has not denied a potential candidacy.

Either change the poll, or close it and start a new one.

Anonymous said...

Pete A. just ruined his chances of winning hte seat. Did anyone see the arrogant and condescending comments he made this morning on the Variety?

Does this fool think that he is the most qualified candidate for the post? Better yet, what has he done in his over 6 years as Washington Rep? Did he present the commonwealth's needs and issues to Congress? D.C.? Now, what makes us think he would as a Non-Voting Delegate. The guy is self-serving and contrary to part of his comments in today's paper, I think the guy is only running to make history: Being the CNMI's 1st Non-Voting Delegate.

Anonymous said...

The Saipan Tribune today reported tbat Juan Lizama is being prosecuted by the Supreme Court for judicial misconduct while being a judge.

So, is Juan Lizama running for office or is he really running from something?

Anonymous said...

i think former chief justice Jose Dela Cruz should run ! I hear he might plan to run for Governor.

& Ray Yumul is clearly only doing it for the money.Hes a piece of shit !

The Daily Yapper said...

Just because John Oliver Gonzales' initials spell out "JOG" doesn't mean he should run.

He's a nice guy but he's not tough enough to deal with the D.C. boys. He'll end up getting lost in the loop and getting lost in the shuffle.

Our ideal delegate should be someone nobody here would miss and who couldn't possibly do any worse for us.

Maybe Juan Babauta could fly to Pasadena and drive our Rose Bowl float all the way to the capital.

I like Kilili too, but that guy is just too nice. Not enough edge for the Washington back-stabbers even though he's got plenty of practice dodging daggers here.

geek goddess said...

the biggest joke of a candidate is luis crisostimo. the guy is absolutely lost about what goes on in the senate here. how can he be expected to survive in DC?

Poke Me said...

operate more poker shops? hmmm....

john is in said...

John G. is now running.

Whats wrong with him? He has degree in political science, clean cut (while this is normally a given it is not here), he speaks many langauges, a sign of intellegence. He speaks Cham, Carol., Tagalog, English, Korean, and Jap.

lemmings said...

John G. is now running.

Whats wrong with him?


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