CNMI officials pay final respects to Manglona

Lawmakers pay final respects to former lieutenant governor Benjamin Taisacan Manglona at the Rota Roundhouse in Songsong Village, Rota, yesterday. From left, House Speaker Rafael Demapan (R-Saipan) and Reps. Angel Demapan (R-Saipan), Ramon Tebuteb (Ind-Saipan), Glenn Maratita (R-Rota), and Roman Benavente (Ind-Saipan). (OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR)

Lawmakers pay final respects to former lieutenant governor Benjamin Taisacan Manglona at the Rota Roundhouse in Songsong Village, Rota, yesterday. From left, House Speaker Rafael Demapan (R-Saipan) and Reps. Angel Demapan (R-Saipan), Ramon Tebuteb (Ind-Saipan), Glenn Maratita (R-Rota), and Roman Benavente (Ind-Saipan). (OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR)

The island of Rota paid final respects to its former mayor and the first lieutenant governor from the island, Benjamin Taisacan Manglona, during a state memorial services at the Rota Municipal Roundhouse in Songsong Village yesterday.

The roundhouse was packed with family, friends, and government officials both local and visiting, who gathered to mourn and pay the final respects to Manglona, widely acknowledged as a respected statesman and one of the Commonwealth’s founding fathers.

Manglona passed away last April 24 at the age of 78. He was a two-term mayor of Rota and was lieutenant governor under former governor Lorenzo Guerrero administration from 1990 to 1994.

Funeral services for Manglona will be held today, May 3, at the San Francisco de Borja Church with Mass of Christian Burial scheduled for 10am, followed by burial at San Jose Cemetery.

The state memorial yesterday was full of pomp and tradition.

A spray of water greeted the body, which was brought into the circular meeting hall by a multi-agency honor guard component.

Honors from the executive, legislative, judiciary and municipal branches of government were given to Manglona family members.

A resolution from the Association of Mariana Island Mayors, which Manglona was a former member of, was presented to his widow Maria and his family,

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Manglona’s former chief of staff and current Rota Mayor Efraim M. Atalig also paid tributes in their remarks.

In a moving gesture prior to ending his speech, Atalig saluted his boss of eight years as his body lay in state on Rota’s capital.

This was also accompanied by a touching eulogy from Manglona’s former political foe-turned-friend, Lt. Gov. Victor B. Hocog.

The ceremony was capped off with the singing of the Rota Municipal Anthem, “I Tano-Måmi” by schoolchildren from Eskuelan San Francisco de Borja.

Following the conclusion of the ceremony, the members of the Rota Legislative Delegation, Atalig and the Rota Municipal Council, Hocog, Torres and the family walked side by side with their late colleague and mentor for the final time, as pallbearers escorted the body out of the roundhouse.

Dennis B. Chan | Reporter
Dennis Chan covers education, environment, utilities, and air and seaport issues in the CNMI. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Guam. Contact him at dennis_chan@saipantribune.com.

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