Commonwealth of Northern Marianas (CNMI) Governor Ralph Torres has been acquitted of all the charges filed against him by the Democrat-Independent-led House of Representatives in six articles of impeachment.
The Republican-led Senate voted four to three to acquit Torres.
House Resolution 22-14 accused the governor of corruption, neglect of duty and felonies of theft as well as contempt. He has denied the allegations.
Voting for acquittal were Senate President Jude Hofschneider, R-Tinian; Senators Victor Hocog, R-Rota; Frank Cruz, R-Tinian; and Karl King-Nabors, R-Tinian.
Voting for conviction were the minority bloc senators: Edith Deleon Guerrero, D-Saipan; Paul A. Manglona, Ind, -Rota; and Teresita Santos, Ind.-Rota.
At least six of the nine senators must vote to convict the governor in order to remove him from office.
In the Senate impeachment hearing for Governor Torres, there was no prosecutor because the House leadership had refused to participate under the Senate impeachment rules, they said were unfair.
“Does clear and convincing evidence exist to sustain [this] article of impeachment against Governor Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres to remove him from the Office of the Governor of the Northern Mariana Islands?” Senate President Hofschneider asked before the senators voted on each of the following articles of impeachment:
Article I – Commission of felony, theft of utility services
Article II – Commission of felony, theft
Article III – Corruption, unlawful first-class and business-class travel
Article IV – Corruption, misuse of government resources
Article V – Neglect of duty, negligence during crisis
Article VI – Neglect of duty, contempt
“With Governor Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres’ acquittal of all six articles of impeachment, this concludes the Senate’s review of House Resolution 22-14 on the articles of impeachment,” the Senate president said.
“The impeachment proceedings of Governor Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres are hereby closed, and the Senate, as an impeachment tribunal, is hereby adjourned sine die.”
In a statement, Governor Torres said:
“I would like to personally thank all the people who took the time to display their support, encouragement, love, and prayers. Most importantly, I want to thank them for their continued belief in my Administration. I am thankful that we can now move forward, and I can continue to work hard for the people of the Commonwealth.”
The Senate impeachment trial was the first in CNMI history.