Former House speaker Eliceo D. Cabrera, who currently heads the Division of Parks and Recreation, has been named acting secretary of the Department of Lands and Natural Resources after the untimely passing of the late Richard B. Seman.
Cabrera received his appointment papers yesterday, signed by acting governor Victor B. Hocog.
“Following the sudden and unexpected passing of the late secretary of Lands and Natural Resources Richard B. Seman, I am delegating the position of acting secretary to Parks and Recreation Division director Eliceo D. Cabrera until further notice,” said Hocog in Cabrera’s appointment letter.
“Please extend your full cooperation to Mr. Cabrera as he assumes these additional duties and please keep the family of our late Secretary Seman in your thoughts and prayers.”
Seman passed away Tuesday morning. He is survived by his wife Lorraine and children Vinycia, Richard, Jon, Anthony, Lorisha, and grandchildren.
Cabrera told Saipan Tribune that he has big shoes to fill but would do his best to perform his additional duties.
“I just learned of my appointment earlier this day. I’m going to spend my time also at the main office while also performing my duties as Parks and Recreation director,” said Cabrera. “I’m truly honored being chosen to head the DLNR in an acting capacity. I thank Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Victor B. Hocog for their trust and the opportunity they gave me to head the department.”
Cabrera was the House speaker in the 17th CNMI Legislature.
He said there are four others who are also capable of filling in for the late DLNR secretary in an acting capacity to head the department.
“All of us are capable of filling in for Secretary Richard. We’ve been working together for a long time now and again I’m on an acting capacity until further notice.”
He added that they would fully support whoever Torres appoints as Seman’s permanent replacement at DLNR.
Cabrera said that he is still in disbelief about Seman’s untimely death. “When I heard the news, I thought it was just a bad dream. But I went straight to the hospital to be with his family and that is when I learned that he really passed away.”
“I even spoke to him two days ago and now he’s gone. It’s so nice to work with him because you can always see him smile and he was a friendly person. You could always talk to him anytime, about work or to just catch up.”
“We were like brothers. We almost grew up together and our families know each other. His number one passion is taking care of our environment and preserving it for the future generation.”