By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Senatorial candidate Ken Leon Guerrero today appealed the Guam Election Commission's decision to reject his proposed initiatives to convert the Guam legislature into a part-time entity and to empower citizens to sue erring officials.
Leon Guerrero proposed that his part-time legislature and anti-corruption practices act initiatives be included on the ballot for this year's general elections.
Maria Pangelinan, GEC's executive director, last week rejected Leon Guerrero's petition, saying the proposed initiatives violate the Organic Act of Guam.
She said the proposed initiatives were "legislative matters" that only the Guam legislature has the power to enact and present to the voters for approval or rejection.
Leon Guerrero disagreed.
"The initiatives submitted to the GEC are expressions of citizens and allowed as provided for in both the Organic Act of Guam and Guam Code Annotated," he stated in a letter to Pangelinan.
Leon Guerrero argued that both the Organic Act and the Guam Code Annotated follow the signature process to allow voters to determine which initiatives make it onto the general election ballot.
He pointed out that the initiative process is a legislative process that "carries the same force and effect as if the initiatives had been introduced in the legislature and voted into law by the sitting senators."
"To deny the initiative process that is included in the Organic Act of Guam, and is a mirror of the legislative process within the walls of the Guam Congress building is to declare that the U.S. Congress can pass laws that have an effect on Guam," Leon Guerrero said.
The second initiative, which proposes to establish a Corrupt Practices Act, would pave the way for taxpayer lawsuits against the government or its employees "for not less than $10,000 over violations of the law and regulations, and physical or financial harm."
"The Corrupt Practice Act does not create new law, it modifies existing laws where the legislature has waived immunity that has already been vetted and deemed by the courts to be consistent with the provisions of the Organic Act of Guam and is in compliance with the protocols established in the Initiative and Referendum section of the Organic Act of Guam," Leon Guerrero said.