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Sen. Satele: If Gov. has serious health issues, he should step down

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Sen. Satele Galu Satele Sr. has called for a thorough written report on the health of Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga — who has been off island for medical reasons since early this year — to determine whether Lolo is healthy and fit to continue as the territorial government leader.

Samoa News learned yesterday morning that the governor was expected back on last night’s Hawaiian Airlines flight, after spending the last two weeks in Honolulu after traveling from Seattle, where he had undergone medical treatment for an undisclosed illness, followed by medical check-ups.

During Monday’s Senate session — the first day of the 2nd Regular Session of the 37th Legislature — Satele raised the issue of the governor’s health and called for a written thorough report on Lolo’s condition so there’s a full and complete understanding not only for the Fono — but the entire community.

According to the Tualatai senator, the post of governor doesn’t belong to just one person or one branch of government — it belongs to the whole of American Samoa and therefore, the public should know the governor’s medical issues and/or illness.

He says the community continues to pray for the health of the governor and there should be a report on his condition.

When asked for further comment after yesterday’s Senate session, Satele explained to Samoa News/ KHJ News that the main issue for him, is whether or not Lolo “is healthy and fit” to remain as leader. He believes that if the governor has serious health issues — the reason for requesting such a report — then he should voluntarily step down.

“Is the governor still healthy and fit? That’s the important question,” Satele said, adding that there are many unconfirmed reports of the governor’s condition. “The public has the right to know, since he is an elected governor.”

He said an official request for a report from the Governor’s Office on Lolo’s health is still pending at this time.

Lolo left the territory in early February of this year to attend meetings in Honolulu, and also for a medical check-up. He was then supposed to head out to Washington D.C. meetings — including the annual National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting and the federal Interagency Group on Insular Areas (IGIA) meeting.

It was during the IGIA meeting that it first surfaced that Lolo didn’t attend due to “health issues”, but no other information was available at the time. Lolo also didn’t attend the NGA meeting.

 The Governor’s Office, several days later, issued a statement saying Lolo did not attend the meetings and was receiving medical treatment “togafitiga” — but no explanation regarding the illness was forthcoming, which continues to be the case to date.  (See Samoa News Mar. 4, 2019 edition for details).

During a cabinet meeting in May, Lt. Gov. Lemanu Sialega Palepoi Mauga announced that the governor was heading home soon, but provided no specific date.