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By Eric F. Say

HAGATNA, Guam (December 18, 1998 - Marianas Variety)---With some legal questions yet to be answered, the ’98 Committee is pushing plans for the inauguration of Gov. Carl T.C. Gutierrez and Lt. Gov. Madeleine Z. Bordallo on Jan. 4, 1999.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco granted Wednesday the appeal of Gutierrez’s lawyers for a stay of the District Court’s order for a runoff election.

According to Gutierrez’s legal counsel Randall Cunliffe, "We plan to be on the safe side, because it’s appropriate to hold the inauguration. This is due to the fact that the Governor’s term ends at the end of the year."

But the final decision to hold an inauguration lies in the hands of Gutierrez, who was expected to arrive from Honolulu last night (after being stranded in Kiribati for several days).

Inauguration planners have pointed to the Organic Act of Guam that states the Governor will remain in office until either defeated by election or removed by due process.

"An inauguration should proceed so that a governor is installed," they said.

In an interview with the Variety, Curtis C. Van de veld, counsel for the Ada-Camacho team, said, "although it (the Gutierrez-Bordallo administration) may only last for four months and it is a self-proclamation, it (inauguration) will be a total disregard for the legal process and a waste of taxpayer’s money."

Referring to the electoral fraud case filed at the Superior Court, Van de veld said his office did try to scrutinize the list of supposedly illegal voters prior to its release.

On orders of the court, the Ada-Camacho turned the list over to the Gutierrez-Bordallo team, who in turn had it printed in a newspaper.

The list has raised a storm of controversy because it included prominent Guam residents.

"No disrespect (was intended) to anyone placed on the list," Van de veld said.

He added that "unlike the Gutierrez/Bordallo team, we were only complying with a court order."

This should imply that the list was not supposed to have been made public. The list came out in an ad paid for the Gutierrez-Bordallo team early this week.

The ’98 Committee said, however, that "it is the right of the people to know if the filing of an electoral fraud case is being used as a political strategy by the Ada-Camacho team."

For additional reports from the Marianas Variety, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Marianas Variety.

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