Marianas Variety

Last updateThu, 29 Jun 2017 12am

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    Wednesday, June 28, 2017-5:55:39P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

Fitial baits Diego, Tina

GOVERNOR Benigno R. Fitial yesterday said  that former Lt. Gov. Diego T. Benavente, who is urging him to resign, “is contaminated with Tina Sablan disease,” referring to the former House member who also asked him to resign, in Aug. 2008.

Benigno Fitial
Citing the CNMI’s worsening crises, Benavente on Wednesday said the governor should step down and allow Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos to take over.  If the governor refuses, Benavente said the Legislature should impeach him.

According to the governor, however, Benavente should “just seek the impeachment of the senators” for turning down the Saipan casino measure, which Fitial said would have helped improve the local economy and the Marianas Public Land Trust credit line bill that would have the hospital.

The governor said he is now “doing something to fix the problem that Benavente’s friends in the Senate have refused to address.”

Fitial at the same time said he respects Benavente’s opinion.

“That is freedom of speech. So I am also invoking my freedom of speech. I think he got contaminated with Tina Sablan’s disease — stomach ache,” the governor said.

Not funny

In a separate interview, Benavente said it seems that the governor finds what’s going on in the CNMI “funny.”

But the commonwealth needs a serious leader and not a funny man, the former lt. governor said.

He noted that the governor earlier advised Independent Republicans to “drink milk,” and later described as “stupid” senators from Tinian and Rota, before asking the Senate president to “come to Jesus.”

Benavente said it’s not funny that despite the gravity of the problems plaguing the CNMI, the governor is still making jokes.

The public, Benavente added, is suffering while the governor makes jokes that are sometimes insulting to the people.

It’s funny

Former Rep. Tina Sablan  finds the governor’s latest remark “hilarious,” and she’s not sure if it really warrants a response.

In an email, Sablan, who is now a KSPN police and court reporter said: “I don’t know whether the governor’s comment gives me too much credit, or Diego.  In all seriousness, though I’m not sure why Fitial felt the need to mention my name in his remarks.  If the ‘disease’ he’s referring to is an interest in more government transparency and accountability, then I certainly hope more people are ‘infected.’ ”

In Aug. 2008, Sablan asked her colleagues in the House to  impeach the governor, citing his “increasingly autocratic methods.”

She added, “The people are clamoring for a recall, for impeachment, for the Legislature to take some kind of meaningful stance against the parade of weakly justified emergency declarations, unconstitutional executive orders, highly suspicious sole-source contracts, nonsensical threats of litigation against the federal government, failures to pay employer contributions to the Retirement Fund or to pay down the deficit — the list goes on and on.”

According to Sablan, Fitial’s “actions might be, at the end of the day, technically legal.  But they are fundamentally, ethically, and morally wrong.  Taken together, they add up to dereliction of duty.  Taken together, they add up to a staggering betrayal of the public trust.”

Fitial was re-elected in 2009, and his term ends Jan. 2015.