Blanco death triggers special poll


The untimely passing of Rep. Ivan A. Blanco (R-Saipan) last Friday triggered a special election for his Precinct 3 seat in the House of Representatives at the 22nd Legislature.

As this developed, Department of Public Safety spokesman Adrian Pangelinan said yesterday that during the initial findings, the cause of death given was “sudden death.” Pangelinan said the final Commonwealth Health Center’s medical  report says  the cause of death was “massive pulmonary embolism.”

Panglinan said that Blanco, 45, just had lunch with his staff at the Aqua Resort Club in Achugao Friday and, as they were leaving and were all in their vehicles, he rolled down his window and asked for assistance from a staff member, and he was guided out of the vehicle. Witnesses then called 911 and asked for help and Aqua Resort staff assisted with cardio-pulmonary resuscitation until medics arrived and took over. Pangelinan said an ambulance then transported Blanco to CHC where Dr. Brian Strickland pronounced him dead at 1:33pm Friday.

Meanwhile, there will be another special election for Precinct 3—the same precinct that also had a special election in March 2019, following the death of representative Francisco D. Dela Cruz in January 2019. Marco Taisakan Peter of the Republican Party handily won that first special election, with a landslide victory in a four-way race.

Ivan A. Blanco

Commonwealth Election Commission executive director Kayla Igitol said yesterday that CEC is more than ready to conduct a special election.

Igitol said the Legislature would need to notify Gov. Ralph DLG Torres that there is now a vacancy in the House Precinct 3. She said Torres will then sign a proclamation calling for a special election.

Igitol said the CEC commissioners will meet as they need to certify the petitions of candidacy once they are submitted, approve the ballot layout, and approve the polling places.

Igitol said that based on the election last November, there were 3,544 registered voters for Precinct 3.

Blanco landed third after he received 1,457 votes. House Speaker Edmund S. Villagomez (Ind-Saipan) was the top vote getter after he got 1,622 votes, and Rep. Blas Jonathan Tenorio Attao (R-Saipan) was second with 1,546 votes.

Editor’s Note: Story was updated on July 31, 2021, to update the second paragraph (cause of death).

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at
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