Martin Mendiola will replace Diego M. Songao as a member of the Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC).
Northern Mariana Islands.- The Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) has named Martin Mendiola to replace Diego M. Songao as casino commissioner representing the island of Rota. Songao resigned as a commissioner in September 2021 due to health reasons.
Mendiola has been sworn in by governor Ralph DLG Torre. He will serve Songao’s remaining term, until April 30, 2024. At a special Senate session, seven senators approved the appointment while minority bloc senator Paul A. Manglona of Rota abstained.
According to Mariana’s Variety, Manglona did not object to Mendiola’s qualification, but he said the Senate Committee on Executive Appointments and Government Investigations should question the source of funding for casino commissioners’ salaries. Last year, the CCC announced 20 layoffs without cause to reduce operation costs due to a lack of funds.
Mendiola said: “My goal, if confirmed, will be to become true partners with my colleagues to mediate the current situation with the casino and find amicable solutions that will continue to grant opportunities for both parties — our great Commonwealth and the casino license holder — to succeed.”
He added: “I strongly believe in providing objective flexibility to find legal alternatives to support the license holder so they may be able to accomplish their goals and objectives, so that, in turn, we will help us accomplish ours.”
Mendiola praised the CCC’s opposition to IPI’s motion for a preliminary injunction that prevents the regulator from revoking IPI’s casino licence and added: “If the casino industry becomes a success, it will also attract other investors willing and interested in coming to our Commonwealth, and help support our tourism industry.”