Babauta: I will not be distracted by this pettiness

Celina Roberto Babauta’s fight against corruption will continue and get louder despite attempts by the Senate president and her newfound republican friends to remove and silence Ms. Babauta.

“I will not be distracted by this pettiness,” democrat Babauta told Kandit in an interview Tuesday morning regarding Edith Deleon Guerrero’s decision to remove her from chairing the Senate Judiciary, Government, and Law Committee and replacing her with republican Karl King-Nabors of Tinian. The removal came amid Ms. Babauta’s efforts to report out critical legislation onto the Senate floor, including a House bill by Marissa Flores to clarify the attorney general’s subpoena power.

The attorney general’s office is prosecuting and investigating former republican governor Ralph Torres.

Documents and records of Senate proceedings since Ms. Deleon Guerrero became Senate president in January 2023 show efforts by her and the four republican senators to block legislative attempts to provide the AG’s office the tools it says it needs in order to prosecute corruption. Ms. Babauta discussed these at length in her interview with Kandit, vowing to remain vocal in the fight against corruption despite the apparent republican takeover of the Senate this past week.

“It’s hard to say,” Ms. Babauta said about whether critical legislation poised to assist the anti-corruption effort and efforts to improve the economy would be killed with the new JGL leadership. “With the new JGL chairman and its members, time will tell.”

The Saipan senator addressed floor remarks by republican Francisco Cruz of Tinian, who repeatedly stated Ms. Babauta did not want any of the Tinian republicans on her committee and blamed Ms. Babauta for any impasse.

“One word comes to mind when considering everything Senator Francisco Cruz said yesterday … and that word is ‘dishonest,’” Ms. Babauta said in her interview with Kandit. She also addressed accusations by Ms. Deleon Guerrero that Ms. Babauta would not allow republicans onto her JGL committee as not being truthful, pointing to seven letters documenting an arduous and lengthy attempt Ms. Babauta made to appoint each and every one of Tinian’s senatorial delegation to the JGL committee.

Edwin Propst

“I am amazed that the same people who spent $500 million in ARPA funding in less than two years on enriching themselves and their families are the same people who want you to believe they are the solution to the CNMI’s ailing economy,” democrat Edwin Propst of the CNMI House wrote on his Facebook page this morning, referring to the republicans who controlled the use of every cent of federal pandemic funds and left behind a deficit when democrats and independents took over the government in January last year.

Ms. Babauta, in a news release, said the move against her is in retaliation for her support of fellow democrat Manny Castro’s senatorial bid against Ms. Deleon Guerrero’s reelection effort.

Manny Castro

“It’s disappointing, but not surprising given my recent public endorsement of Representative Manny Castro to seek a seat in the Senate,” Ms. Babauta said. “I believe the decision to remove me from my chairmanship is simply political desperation. It is unfortunate that they feel the need to bring me down to lift themselves up, but my focus remains on serving the constituents of the Commonwealth,” she added in the news release.

In the news release and in her interview with Kandit, Ms. Babauta said the big problem in the Senate is “underlying dysfunctional leadership that has plagued the Senate for the past 16 months.”

“Since its inauguration, there have been no leadership meetings despite repeated requests from members of the leadership. The Senate President has just refused to call for a leadership meeting,” she said. “Furthermore, Senate President Edith Deleon Guerrero has assumed the role and authority typically reserved for the Floor Leader. This action effectively concentrates power and control in the hands of the President, creating an imbalance and a pattern of unilateral decision-making where only bills favored by the President are prioritized on the calendar.”

“Talk is cheap,” the senator ultimately said about the Senate session, where the republicans and Ms. Deleon Guerrero attacked her outside her presence.

Watch the full interview below:


  • Pettiness is part of the CNMI’s legacy.

    This is because, according to Dr. David Hawkin’ Consciousness Chart, all of our lawmakers register below 200, perhaps 150. At that low level, they manifest fear, ego and distrust of others. Only a few lawmakers chart above 200.

    By comparison, Kilili Sablan, is at 470 – far above the others – and thus more Spiritually advanced. He works for the good of everyone in our islands. Kilili is extremely evolved.

    Pettiness is the stuff of junior high school students.

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