Facing Impeachment trial Gov Fitial of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands resigns
Source: Marianas Variety
MORE than three hours after Gov. Benigno R. Fitial resigned, Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos and Senate President Jude U. Hofschneider were sworn in yesterday as the CNMI’s new governor and lieutenant governor.
Fitial was impeached by the House of Representatives for multiple counts related to the commission of felonies, to corruption and to neglect of duty, and his trial in the Senate was to begin on March 7. As of yesterday, Variety was told, at least six of the nine senators were inclined to find him guilty of most, if not all, of the charges against him — enough to remove him from office.
In his letter of resignation, Fitial expressed the hope that “the elected leaders can bring the commonwealth back to prosperity and provide a secure future for its citizens.” Fitial left the administration building immediately after sending Press Secretary Angel A. Demapan to the Legislature on Wednesday morning.Demapan delivered Fitial’s letter of resignation to Hofschneider and Speaker Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero at around 10 a.m. A few minutes later, Variety broke the news online.
In his speech after he was sworn in at the Pedro Tenorio Multi-purpose Center in Susupe, Inos said that at 9:40 a.m. on Wednesday, Fitial asked if they could talk.
“As usual, I said, ‘of course governor.’ ” Inos said. “He came to my office and in a very humble manner, he presented me a letter. And I asked him ‘What is that for? What is the letter about?’ ”Fitial then handed him the letter. “I opened it,” Inos said. “The first line in the letter, when I saw it, I almost fell off my chair. I did not expect the governor to do what he did. But the letter simply says the time has come for him to step down and it is in the best interest of the commonwealth community that he did so because he wants to bring people together so we can move forward with the businesses at hand.”
Inos is the CNMI’s eighth governor and will serve the remainder of Fitial’s term, which ends in Jan. 2015.