Tinian senators never attended EAGI or JGL meetings; Babauta appoints Cruz to JGL

Saipan Senator Celina Babauta extended an open invitation to Tinian’s three senators to participate in the proceedings of the two committees she leads in the Senate, according to a letter she sent Wednesday to Tinian Senator Karl King Nabors. Mr. King Nabors is the chairman of the Tinian Legislative Delegation. They just never showed up.

The subject of Tinian’s participation on Ms. Babauta’s Executive Appointments and Government Investigations, and Judiciary, Government, and Law committees was raised by the sudden resignation of Rota Senator Dennis Mendiola. In his resignation letter this week, Mr. Mendiola wrote:

“The current composition of the committees includes three senators from Rota and yourself representing the Island of Saipan. While this arrangement is not inherently unjust, I strongly feel that the island of Tinian, as an integral part of our Commonwealth, should also have a dedicated member in these committees. By doing so, we can foster a greater sense of trust, inclusion, and fairness among the three senatorial districts, thereby strengthening the unity and cohesion of our beloved islands.”

According to Ms. Babauta, however, she extended an invitation to the Tinian delegation more than three months ago.

“In a meeting with [Tinian] Senator Francisco Q. Cruz on April 10, 2023, in my office, I expressed my unconditional sincerity and all-inclusive participation of the members of the Tinian Legislative Delegation to participate in any of the EAGI or JGL official committee meetings,” Ms. Babauta wrote to Mr. King Nabors Wednesday.

Tinian’s Jude Hofschneider is the third member of that Tinian senatorial trio.

“The fact that Senator Edith Deleon Guerrero, who is not a member of the EAGI or the JGL Committee, has voluntarily participated in official committee meetings on numerous occasions is demonstrative of this openness,” the committees chairwoman went on to state in proof of her point. “This has been a custom and traditional practice since my days in the 22nd House of Representatives and I continue to extend that open practice with the 23rd NMI Senate.”

Despite the invitation, which contradicts Mr. Mendiola’s claim that the committees have left out participation by the Tinian senators, Ms. Babauta said none of them ever attended any of her meetings since then.

“Since that April meeting with Senator Cruz, none of the TLD members have expressed any concerns regarding their participation in committee meetings to me, as Chair, nor have they participated in any of the EAGI or JGL committee meetings,” Ms. Babauta wrote in her letter.

In fact, Kandit has reviewed footage of the committee meetings since the start of the legislative term in January and found that none of the Tinian senators ever attended these meetings.

“I continue to extend an open invitation to members of the TLD to participate in any official committee meetings conducted by the EAGI and the JGL,” Ms. Babauta wrote. “The input from the 2nd Senatorial District is of vital importance to the EAGI, JGL committees and most especially, the CNMI, should you or your members chose to participate.”

She has appointed Mr. Cruz to replace Mr. Mendiola on the JGL committee, according to her letter.


  • Dame Edith Shitwell

      07/25/2023 at 8:47 PM

    Maybe they’d show up if you properly addressed them as senatrices. Well, two out of three is close enough!

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