Guam - Henry Taitano's confirmation as the Administrator of the Guam Economic Development Authority fell one vote short Friday afternoon.
8 votes were needed, he got only 7. He was not confirmed.
Five Senators voted against his confirmation. They are Senators Tom Ada, B.J. Cruz, Ben Pangelinan, Frank Aguon Jr., and Michael San Nicolas. Speaker Won Pat abstained. Senators Aline Yamashita and Chris Duenas had excused absences.
The issue of concern for some Senators was the truthfulness of Taitano's testimony at his confirmation hearing Tuesday.
Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz raised that issue Thursday during session. The questions were, did Taitano have an ownership interest in Pacific Vision LLP, or in Downtown Pacific Ventures LLC? And did he testify accurately and truthfully about that during his confirmation hearing?
The Governor Thursday had urged lawmakers to confirm his nominee and Friday Adelup released documents from Rev and Tax Licensing Supervisor George Cruz in which Cruz certified Taitano had no further interest in either business.
Taitano Friday told PNC News that he has been open and honest all along, declaring he long ago shed all interest in those entities and that he has provided proof of that to the Legislature, as requested. Moreover he wondered, even if he still had an interest in these enterprises, how would that compromise his position at GEDA?
Immediately after the Friday vote rejecting Taitano's confirmation, Senator Rory Respicio rose and asked for re-consideration at the next Legislative Session.
Acting Speaker Senator Tina Rose Muna-Barnes asked for objections and when there was no immediate objection, she graveled down, just as Senator San Nicolas raised his hand.
Whether the objection was made while Muna-Barnes was graveling down, or right afterwards, the Acting Speaker agreed to entertain San Nicolas' objection.
Senator Tony Ada then raised his own objection, saying that Muna-Barnes had already graveled the proceedings to a close. But Senator Muna-Barnes said she had the discretion to consider Senator San Nicolas' objection, and she was going to exercise that discretion.
Senator Dennis Rodriguez then rose and asked how could he challenge Muna-Barnes' decision. Muna-Barnes explained that the objection from Senator San Nicolas was made as her hand was bringing the gavel down, and out of respect for her colleague, she agreed to entertain San Nicolas' objection. Similar courtesies have been extended to other Senators in the past, she said.
A brief recess was called to consult the rules and once back in Session, Rodriguez's motion to challenge Acting Speaker Muna-Barnes decision failed.
Muna-Barnes then called for a vote on Senator Respicio's motion to reconsider Taitano's confirmation in the next Session, and the motion for reconsideration failed. Taitano's nomination will not be reconsidered in the next Session.Click on the video link below and see how it went down on the floor.
READ the Session report from Majority Leader Senator Rory Respicio below:
SENATOR RESPICIO ISSUES SESSION UPDATE
(Hagåtña, Guam) Senator Rory J. Respicio, Chairperson of the Committee on Rules, reports that during today’s Session, senators of the 32nd Guam Legislature discussed the following executive appointment:
Mr. Henry Taitano, Administrator, Guam Economic Development Authority
*NOT CONFIRMED (7 yeas; 2 absent; 1 excused; 5 nays (T.C. Ada, B.J.Cruz, F.B. Aguon Jr., M.F.Q. San Nicolas, and V.C. Pangelinan)
Senators adjourned today’s session subject to the call of the Speaker.
Rory J. Respicio
Chairperson, Committee on Rules