Citizenship ceremony sees 23 new US citizens

U.S. District Court for the NMI designated Judge Roberto C. Naraja, CNMI Bar Association president Charles Brasington and Immigration Services officer Shelia Kelty pose with the 23 new U.S. citizens during the naturalization ceremony last Thursday. (Ferdie De La Torre)

After 41 years of working as an electrician in the CNMI, Reynaldo Y. Maniacop finally obtained U.S. citizenship last Thursday.

Maniacop, 65 and originally from Bulacan, Philippines, first arrived on Saipan in 1977, and worked as an electrician for Sablan Construction until 1980. He then moved to Rota, where he worked for six years, then returned to Saipan to work for several years at a construction company of his brother and at Island Fiesta Food.

Since 1996 until the present, Maniacop has been working for TanHoldings Corp.—first at its garment factories then at Realty Management Services.

It was in 1986 when he met his wife, Lydia, on Saipan. They have five children, who were all born here.

Lydia Maniacop, who originally hailed from Leyte, also took her oath Thursday as a U.S. citizen.

Reynaldo Maniacop is just happy that he can now vote in the CNMI.

For 63-year-old Peter Kwok Ho Tche, who is a native of Hong Kong, obtaining his citizenship is a dream come true.

“I feel excited,” said Tche, who recalled that he first came to Saipan in 1983, when he worked as a chief accountant at Hyatt Regency Saipan.

Tche and his wife, Violeta P. Che, have three children.

Tche said his last name is Che, but the Hong Kong government changed it to Tche when Hong Kong was returned to China.

Violeta Che, who originally hailed from Nueva Ecija, also took her oath Thursday as a U.S. citizen.

Violeta Che, 51, said she is excited because she can now vote. She first arrived on Saipan in 1986 when she worked as a waitress at Jade Garden.

The Maniacop couple and Peter Tche and Violeta Che were among the 23 persons who took their oaths Thursday as freshly-minted U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony at the U.S. District Court for the NMI.

Designated Judge Robert C. Naraja presided over the ceremony. CNMI Bar Association president Charles Brasington served as the guest speaker.

Immigration Services officer Shelia Kelty moved to accept the new citizens. Naraja granted the motion.

Aside from the Maniacops and the Tche and Che couple, the other new citizens were Kyung Ah Kim Thompson, Janeth S. Arcangel, Eun Ho Baek, Zenaida C. Borja, Wanda L. Catalla, Andrea Z. Dayrit, Henry F. Del Rosario, Angelita P. Feliciano, Kuen Hee Han, Evelyn M. Itibus, Marilyn A. Isip, Reynaldo M. Isip, Pui Wen Lam, Xuanbo Lu, Rosita P. Macabugao, Rosalie R. Masga, Rosalima C. Oliva, Manju Pandey, and Catherine I. Scallamera.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at

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