14 Feb 2013
- By Zaldy Dandan
FOR the sake of their jobs and the favors they’ve received and expect to receive from the governor, his mercenaries and sycophants want us basically to be stupid. Like them, we should believe that what we see before us is not what it is, but something else.
The governor ordered the release of a federal detainee — without the federal court’s authorization — so she could massage him at his house. He used the services of the Department of Corrections for his own personal benefit. Clearly, an abuse of power. But, according to the governor’s apparently well-compensated minions, it’s for the good of the CNMI. And by the “CNMI” they mean the governor.
The governor awarded a $392,406 sole-source contract to his former Commerce secretary to perform tasks that should have been assigned to the Commerce secretary. The governor then ordered Procurement & Supply to release an advanced payment to the former Commerce secretary. An assistant AG said the contract violated several provisions of the Government Ethics Code Act. It is what it is, and it’s not good. But the governor says, with a straight face, it’s for the CNMI’s benefit.
He signed another no-bid contract, the $190 million power-plant deal, that the CNMI did not need and could not afford. We all know what it is. “Catastrophic” was how a non-political CUC official described the agreement. His contract was not renewed. The governor says he depended on the advice of his then-AG, who earlier admitted to the media that as an appointee of the governor, the AG must do the governor’s bidding.
His then-AG was escorted to the airport by DPS and CPA police officials, including the governor’s driver/bodyguard. They tried to prevent OPA from serving the AG with a penal summons. Phone records indicated that the governor was communicating with the DPS officials who were with the AG. Again, it is plain to see what all this is, but Representative Daling asks, “Did you hear what they said over the phone?” Cookie crumbs are all over the governor’s face, but he tells us we didn’t see him eat the missing cookie. That’s his “defense.”
He breaks the law and ignores the rules. He enjoys the privileges of his office while denying responsibility for his actions. He doesn’t even care about maintaining the appearance of legality or decency. He wants us to look the other way.
One of his House allies, George Camacho, says he hopes that the Senate standards in determining the governor’s guilt are “higher” than the House leadership’s.
He, for once, is right. The Senate can now raise CNMI standards for its top officials by affirming that there is only one set of laws, and it applies to everyone, including, and most especially, the governor.
He is guilty. And his removal from office through the democratic process provided by the CNMI Constitution means that its system of checks and balances is working. High government officials are now accountable for their actions. Never again will there be “untouchables.”
And, senators, please remember that although you will now sit as a court, you’re not a court, “but a political body deliberating on what are properly considered political offenses.” The evidence against the governor, in any case, is overwhelming. That his conviction would be good for the CNMI is also undeniable.
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