Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sablan: Local law will apply to NMI congressional delegate poll

By Emmanuel T. Erediano Variety News Staff

CURRENT commonwealth election law will apply to the election of the CNMI’s first nonvoting delegate seat to the U.S. Congress.

The U.S. congressional bill extending federalization law to the islands and creating a CNMI delegate seat is expected to become law before the federal elections in November.

Commonwealth Election Commission Executive Director, Gregorio Sablan said the election of the CNMI congressional delegate will be considered a local election for a federal office.

The candidates’ statements of accounts this time will be reported to federal authorities and not to the local election commission.

“We have been looking into this for sometime now and if the (federalization law) becomes law, the election for the CNMI delegate will coincide with the federal elections on Nov. 4.”

He said it is up to the political parties to decide whether to hold primaries or not.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Complying with one's 'transparency platform'

Letters to the Editor
Friday, December 28, 2007

Mrs. Hunter, let me start by greeting you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and thank you for the additional tips dated Dec. 25, 2007 because it clarified what Tina Sablan meant about being a “renter.” Most of you suggest that the “TTT” (an abbreviation created by your group) is akin to the Klu Klux Klan and marks our organization as being racist. Let me give all of you some education concerning racism here in the CNMI. Whenever a local stands up and confronts and addresses issues of public affairs affecting our people and detrimental to our well-being, most of you run and hide behind the color of your skins and call us locals racist. The mere fact that a common ordinary person is challenging your propaganda here in our homeland, influencing our generations with your so-called westernized type of democracy in our society, is annoying all of you. Get real, Mrs. Hunter! And welcome to the real world. Oh, and make sure you correctly use “TTCAI” or “TT”.

We do agree that it is none of anyone's business concerning one's private information but it was Tina Sablan who was requesting to see what our lawmakers had to hide, wanting to see the inside of their wallets. Yet she doesn't comply with her own platform. What does she have to hide? We believe that it is Tina Sablan who owes the people of Precinct 1 and the people of the CNMI an apology for deceiving all of us by concentrating on her self-righteous agenda, disrespecting the majority of the indigenous population here in our homeland, especially Precinct 1. Ms. Sablan hasn't been sworn into office and already she wants to amend a law that would address balancing employment here in the CNMI for our local workforce who have been discarded and left to feed off NAP as a way of living.

Ms. Sablan's revelation on her “technical escape” from a law that opened a window for candidates to switch precincts on the fly does not sit well with other candidates who took their time and effort to meet with their precinct constituents. Ms. Sablan's “ last minute ”decision to move to Fina Sisu does not seem to fit the role model candidate who gets to know her constituents, visits them and really find out what she can do for her precinct as a public servant. Instead, Ms. Sablan prefers to gallivant with constituents of another country who are in an indentured servitude to our island. How can you possibly get to know the people in your precinct if you had only lived there for two months? Why are they asking questions about your residency? Because they don't know who you are! Remember you're a renter, meaning not a permanent resident. We don't believe that you actually took the time to find out if your precinct had water or sewage problems. Did you speak to people young and old about their needs and in ways you can help them? No, Ms. Sablan, you drove your car from your apartment, passing all the homes of the people who trusted you, believed in you, and most especially voted for you.

As an elected official, we do believe that you have an inherent responsibility to represent the wishes of the majority that put you in office. If Ms. Sablan has a conscience, she should be feeling guilty by now.

Greg Cruz
Taotao Tano CNMI

Thursday, December 27, 2007

No basis in fact or in law

Letter to the Editor: mvariety 122807

THERE were recent allegations about the qualification of candidates in a Dec. 24th letter to the editor.When viewed in their full context, the allegations show that they have no basis in fact or in law.One of the allegations is that the residency requirement to be eligible to run for office in the House of Representatives is 120 days. This is incorrect. The 120 day requirement, stated in 1 CMC § 6201 (c) reads: “Under the authority of Article VII, Section 1 of the Commonwealth Constitution, no person shall be eligible to vote who has not resided in the Commonwealth at least 120 days prior to the election day.” In this year’s election cycle, the deadline for establishing Commonwealth lawful residency to register to vote was July 6, 2007.The eligibility qualifications for candidates for the House of Representatives stated in 1 CMC § 6303 reads:“A candidate for the House of Representatives shall be qualified to vote in the Commonwealth, at least twenty-one (21) years of age, a resident and a domiciliary of the Commonwealth for at least (3) years immediately preceding the date on which a representative would take office. A candidate for the House of Representatives shall also be a registered voter and a resident of the election precinct where he or she is a candidate. No person convicted of a felony in the Commonwealth or in any area under the jurisdiction of the United States may be eligible for this office unless a full pardon has been granted.” In this year’s election cycle, the deadline for establishing election district residency to be a House of Representatives candidate was September 14, 2007.1 CMC § 6201 (c) sets forth the 120 days that is the lawful residency requirement to register to vote in the Commonwealth and 1 CMC § 6303 sets forth the qualifications, including the 50 day election district residency requirement, for candidates for the House of Representatives. These are entirely separate and different provisions of law. I have no knowledge of the allegation that Mr. Oscar M. Babauta challenged the residency of Mr. Andrew S. Salas in 2002 after Mr. Salas was sworn into office.The Election Commission has no record of any such matter taking place and we do not know if a challenge took place in the Courts or at the Legislature.The Commission can only determine prospective candidates’ eligibility after they submit their petition and candidacy documents. We need to receive and review the packets or else we can never tell who is, and who is not eligible, to run for office. After we receive the packets, the review takes place and the Commissioners then determine whether or not to certify candidates. In the 2005 election cycle, the Commissioners certified the candidacy petitions, and certified the candidates for offices, except for two. One individual failed to vote in the 2003 election and the other individual did not meet the five-year CNMI domiciliary and residency requirement that was the law at that time. These individuals’ candidacies were not certified until after the enactment of P.L. 14-87. I did not have anything to do with a Senator’s introduction of the legislation. I recall discussing the historical and factual context of the matter with the OAG’s Chief of the Civil Division, and maybe with the Governor’s Legal Counsel after the bill passed the Legislature and it was being considered for approval or disapproval, but I had no discussion with Governor Babauta urging its approval into law. When the Governor approved the bill and it became law, since it had a retroactivity provision in its applicability clause, the two previously not certified individuals were deemed eligible and, consistent with the law, were certified as candidates for the 2005 general election. To do otherwise would obviously be a crime. The fact that I knew both candidates had nothing to do with our accepting their petition packets because we accept all petition packets submitted by all prospective candidates. The fact that the Commissioners did not certify these two individuals at the time they certified all the other candidates is more telling of the truth. The Governor does not need to subpoena documents and information from the Commission. The Governor’s authority to demand information he needs is explicit in the NMI Constitution and all he should do is ask and the Commission shall provide. If the information Governor Fitial is being asked to review pertains to the candidates’ eligibility for the 2005 and 2007 elections, then, as the Speaker of the House of Representatives when Public Law 14-87 was passed by the Legislature, he would know the letter, intent and spirit of the law. As for the other allegations raised in the Dec. 24th and in the many other letters, those have been properly addressed by the Office of the Attorney General. If someone has a problem with the way I perform my government job, then I am fair game for criticism. However, it is unfair to level baseless and false accusations against the Commission’s Chairwoman, the Public Auditor, the Deputy Attorney General, candidates and others when they are and have been in full compliance with the CNMI’s laws, rules and regulations. It is also a disservice to the Commonwealth’s citizens and residents when someone continues to make public pronouncements that have no basis in fact or in law.

GREGORIO C. SABLAN Executive Director Commonwealth Election Commission

Monday, November 26, 2007

RELEASED OUT! After Mr. Sablan asked Taotao Tano CNMI not to make it public.

In his response, he request not to make it public but he did have it published through Saipan Tribune this morning. 112707.

Directors response to open govt act

From: Commonwealth Election Commision [mailto:executivedirector@votecnmi.gov.mp]

Sent: Monday, November 26, 2007 2:56 PMTo: 'TAOTAO TANO CNMI Assoc, Inc.'
Cc: 'TTA Board'; 'Gregory Baka'; Michael S. Sablan; 'efsablan@gmail.com'; 'Gregorio C. Sablan'

Subject: RE: re-sending faxed copy Greg, My responses are in blue inserted to your letter. I had to do this since I am presently pressed for time and you told me you needed a prompt response.



fromTAOTAO TANO CNMI Assoc, Inc.

to Gegorio Sablan Director of Election Office <executivedirector@votecnmi.gov.mp>,
cc Jermae recepcionist of Election Office <
dateNov 26, 2007 11:12 AM

subject{} re-sending faxed copymailing list Filter messages from this mailing listmailed-bygooglegroups.com
hide details 11:12 AM (19 hours ago) Reply

Hello Jermae, I am re-sending you the same letter faxed to Mr. Sablan this morning. Please confirm your receive for Mr. Sablan had contacted me and we had discussed this issue over the telephone.

Thank you,

Gregorio S. Cruz, Jr. -- President -Taotao Tano CNMI Association, Inc./ Social Advocacy Org.



Directors Response to OGA (pg1 of 2)

Directors Response to OGA (pg1 of 2)

Directors Response to OGA (pg2 of 2)

Directors Response to OGA (pg2 of 2)