Political turmoil

CNMI Gov. Ralph Torres facing threat of impeachment

Quite a mirror of national politics, the Northern Mariana Islands is dealing with its own political anxiety. While Republican President Donald Trump is awaiting his impeachment trial, the CNMI’s Republican governor Ralph Torres is facing a similar threat from his own political nemeses.

The six-member Minority Bloc in the CNMI House of Representatives is currently reviewing its plan to introduce articles of impeachment against Torres based on allegations of abuse of power and corruption. Their plan of action emerged nearly two months after the Federal Bureau of Investigation swooped down on Saipan with search warrants.

FBI agents on Nov. 7, searched several government and private offices on Saipan, including the Imperial Pacific Resort and the governor’s office in Capital Hill. The raid was related to a sealed federal investigation into money laundering, bribery, fraud and illegal political contributions, apparently involving the casino operator’s surreptitious deals with Torres, his family and associates.

Subjects of the search warrants included Torres, first lady Diann Torres, his bothers Vincent, Victorino and Joaquin Torres, who own Torres Brothers Law Offices, his sisters-in-law Brenda and Rowina Torres, casino lobbyist Alfred Chi-Yam Yue, realtor Ron Li Anderson. Subjects of the search warrant include Gov. Ralph Torres, first lady Diann Torres, his bothers Vincent, Victorino and Joa