FORMER Speaker Pedro Paduna R. Deleon Guerrero accused NMI Democratic Party chairwoman Nola Hix and vice chairman Daniel Quitugua of being "bad leaders" after they chased him out of a meeting with Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios and Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang last month.
The meeting took place on Oct. 24, 2021 between the NMI Democratic Party's Central Executive Committee and the Arnold-Dave 2022 team to discuss a possible collaboration in next year's gubernatorial election.
In an open letter to the party, Paduna — the last Democrat to serve as House speaker — expressed his disappointment with Hix and Quitugua for "their very unwelcoming and disrespectful treatment of me."
Variety was unable to get a comment from the NMI Democratic Party.
During the meeting, Paduna said Hix and Quitugua asked him to "get out." When he told them that he was there as "proxy" to his brother, former Sen. Herman R. Deleon Guerrero who is a member of the CEC, Hix told him, "No proxy here, you have to get out."
Paduna said he left the meeting.
"Afterward, I was hoping that Nola Hix would call me to meet and discuss what happened. To my surprise and even greater disappointment, she sent WhatsApp messages to several persons about the CEC meeting where I was excluded. She wrote, 'Uncle Pete Paduna attended our CEC meeting uninvited. He is neither a CEC member nor did any of our members contact me directly to allow him to attend as their proxy. I am upset that he attended our meeting and disrupted our meeting with his outburst and called me a ‘bad leader’ in front of our guests, Arnold-Dave. Unacceptable. Someone needs to put him in check and I would suggest your group disassociate. He is toxic. This is not his time.”
Paduna said he doesn't appreciate Hix calling him "toxic" and saying “it is not my time."
"Unbelievable," he said adding that Hix’s badmouthing him behind his back "demonstrated how a deceitful kind of person she is and her manner toward me on that day was disgraceful, unprofessional, disrespectful, and unwelcoming."
He added, "Not necessarily that I was former speaker of the House of Representatives, but as an elder at least, she should show sign of respect and decency toward me, and also to my brother, former Sen. Herman R. Deleon Guerrero, who sent me to attend the…meeting as his proxy.”
The former senator, known as “HR,” was the party’s gubernatorial candidate in 1981.
On Nov. 3, 2021, the NMI Democratic Party announced its endorsement of Rep. Tina Sablan as its 2022 gubernatorial candidate.
Paduna wants to know if Sablan’s selection was handled “fair and square.”
He said there were other potential or prospective candidates who also submitted letters of intent, “but whose names were withheld from us Democrats” by Hix and Quitugua.
“Some may wonder whether it was handled with exclusion or with transparency. Today, that no longer matters. They have selected and approved a person of their choice as the Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate for the 2022 general election. This candidate may be supported by those members who stayed with the party, but not because of Chairwoman Nola Hix and Vice Chairman Dan Quitugua and the select few members of the CEC. The Democratic Party has no true leaders and stand on very shaky ground.”
Paduna said under “the questionable leadership of Chairwoman Nola Hix, Dan Quitugua, and the selected few CEC members, many Democrats, including myself, are leaving the party to join and follow a winning team, [the] Palacios-Apatang Camp.”
Paduna said Palacios and Apatang will put “an end to corruption,” restore “transparency, accountability, integrity, and put our government back in the hands of our people.”
“This is our people’s expressed desire and hope to happen for the betterment of our people in the Commonwealth,” Paduna added.