By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
CNMI Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres on Wednesday welcomed the Special Committee on Impeachment's move to send the articles of impeachment to the House of Representatives for action, saying it is "one step closer to a fair and balanced hearing in the Senate."
Should the articles of impeachment pass the House and advance to the Senate, Torres said, "I’ll prove, again, that none of the false allegations brought against me are illegal or outside the scope of my authority as governor.”
The committee on Tuesday voted unanimously to have the full House body act on the impeachment resolution that charges Torres with corruption, misuse of public funds and neglect of duty.
The charges stemmed from the investigations initiated by the Judiciary and Government Operations committee, which scrutinized the governor's travel expenses, lavish dining, questionable reimbursements and personal utility bills charged on the government.
"I intend to address each allegation so that I may prove, once and for all before an elected body, that I have done nothing wrong in my capacity as chief executive of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands," Torres said.
“Finally, the JGO’s one-sided political show comes to an end. The three legislative law-breaking bullies and their tainted Democrat leader will no longer have a platform to divide our government, mislead our people, and needlessly spend hundreds of thousands of dollars of public resources on attorney’s fees as well as staff time and effort.”
Torres was summoned by the JGO during a hearing on Dec. 14 but the governor didn't show up, saying the committee's action encroached on the executive territory. Facing charges of contempt for ignoring the subpoena, Torres petitioned the court for injunctive relief.
“The false allegations put out by the JGO are nothing more than a politically charged group of Democrats conspiring to sensationalize misleading information so that they may divide our community and seize power for themselves," Torres said.
“The only thing that the House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations has proven is this: that they are anything but judicious in their ways," he added.
"Their actions have shown that the chair of that committee and her two legislative bullies lack the experience and education in public policy, etiquette, and rule of law to faithfully discharge their duties of oversight, advice, and consent. They are, in effect, a tainted committee driven by alleged lawbreakers whose registered complaints against them are of heinous crimes much more severe than the false allegations of excessive travel and charges for utilities brought against me.”