"Killing two birds with one stone" is perhaps the most fitting expression to describe the latest salvo in the escalating war of words between the attorney Senator Uduch Senior and Senate President Hokkons Baules. Senator Senior has proven to be the one among the opposition senators with the guts to stand up to the Senate President.
In her August 30, 2017 letter to Baules, she did not only asked for his resignation, she attacks House Speaker Sabino Anastacio for his comments about the Senate during the Palau leadership meeting on Tuesday. She said in the letter, "I am writing to express my utter disappointment at your failure to respond to the statement made by the Speaker Sabino Anastacio, the Delegate of Ngchesar State, about the Senators during the miscellaneous part of the Leaders Lunch meeting yesterday.
As "leader" of the Senate, it is your responsibility and duty to stand up and represent the Senate". Without citing the specific statements about the Senate, the outspoken woman senator further told HB, "I exercised restraint and did not respond to the highly offensive statements of Speaker Anastacio out of a deep respect for the Rubekul Belau (presence of Ibedul and Reklai in the meeting) and proper decorum which were apparently lacking in the Delegate of Ngchesar State". ..."Your silence meant that you agreed with those statements; the uncouth and disrespectful nature of the statements made by Speaker Anastacio casts the whole Olbiil Era Kelulau in a poor light and reflects the poorly on not only the Speaker who the statements but on you and the Senate".
As to Speaker Anastacio, she also attacked on another matter saying, "Further, I am outraged that the House of Delegates is spending thousands of dollars on an end of the fiscal year party. The elected leaders of the Olbiil Era Kelulau should not be partying while the pressing business of the people is not being done. The water and wastewater tariff increase of 77% is on the minds of every
Palauan, and the yet the House of Delegates throws a party using public funds."
As to the Senate President, she added, "Based on your performance in recent months, it is obvious that you can no longer lead the Senate." "Again, I request that you step down as President of the Senate and let a new, stronger voice for the Senate and for the people of Palau lead the Senate for the betterment of all the people of Palau."
The apparent acidic relationship between Senior and Baules originated earlier this year when Senior along with Senator Phillip Reklai voted with Senate minority against and killing the resolution on China trade agreement introduced by Baules. Shortly thereafter, the Senate President turned down the TA for Senior to fly to Japan with her husband for a day to obtain a visa and return the next day and then fly out to Guatemala to attend a human right conference that he had approved before.
An exchange of harsh letters between the two ensued resulting with Senior resigning her chairmanship and vice chairmanship in two committees. The Senate President then exposed 21 overseas trips taken by 9 senators in seven months since taking costing over $50,000 in taxpayers money of which Senior spent over $13,000 in six trips, the highest among all other tripping senators. ,
Since then it has gone from a skirmish to an all-out war now that Senior is asking for Baules head. An earlier development also led to the present situation. Senator Senior with Senator Reklai had jumped to the 7-member majority from the 6-member minority during the causing for leadership with Baules as the President before the swearing-in of the 10th OEK in January. This boosted majority number to 9 and reducing the minority to 4. When she resigned so as Senator Reklai and rejoined the minority , however, Reklai sided the majority in the recent voting and passing of the controversial $24.5M airport renovation and expansion joint project with Japanese companies and has been sidelined by the minority. Senior has appeared to be the spokesperson and leader of the minority now with 5 members.