The CNMI Senate has acquitted Governor Ralph Torres of all six articles of impeachment against him, with all seven remaining senators voting strictly along party lines.
The proceedings this afternoon marked the end of an unprecedented Senate impeachment trial that was conducted without the House of Representatives prosecutors and with the Senate dismissing the House’s entire impeachment record.
Four Republican senators, led by Senate President Jude Hofschneider, all voted to acquit Torres of all six articles of impeachment.
These included; Utility Service Theft Offense Fee, Theft Offense Fee, Bribery for Illegal First and Business Class Travel, Bribery for Misuse of Government Resources, Negligence of Duty for Negligence During Crisis, and Negligence of Duty for Contempt of the legislator.
The sens. Karl King Nabors, Victor Hocog and Francisco Cruz were the rest of the votes of acquittal for Torres, while the sens. Edith Deleon Guerrero, Teresita Santos and Paul Manglona voted to remove Torres from office.
Six votes were required to remove Torres from office under the CNMI Constitution.
Deleon Guerrero and Santos are part of the Democratic Party, while Manglona is an independent group joining the Democrats.
The three, earlier this week, asked Hofschneider to be rejected from the impeachment proceedings pending the Superior Court decision on a lawsuit filed by Manglona and two others calling into question the Senate impeachment proceedings.
Two other senators-sen. Vinson Vinnie Sablan and Justo S. Quitugua previously retired due to conflicts of interest.
In a statement following his acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial, Torres thanked the Senate and community members who supported him during the trial.
“I would like to personally thank all the people who have taken the time to show their support, encouragement, love and prayers. Above all, I want to thank them for their continued trust in my administration.”
“I also want to thank the Senate for reviewing the factual information presented by my attorneys and witnesses who gave testimony, for their diligence throughout the impeachment process and the entire trial, and for making informed decisions. I am grateful that now we can move forward and I can continue to work hard for the people of the Commonwealth, “he added.