Flags flown at half-staff in honor of late chief justice Demapan

Gov. Benigno R. Fitial ordered yesterday that all U.S. and CNMI flags be flown at half-staff in honor of the untimely passing on Saturday of former CNMI Supreme Court chief justice Miguel S. Demapan.

“This order shall remain in effect until after the late chief justice Demapan has been laid to rest,” Fitial said in a one-page memo to all government department and activity heads.

Fitial also asked that the people of Commonwealth “continue to keep his family in their prayers during their time of grief.”

The CNMI Judiciary will honor Demapan with a memorial service to be held in the CNMI Supreme Court courtroom in Susupe on Friday, July 6, at 10am. Funeral services are planned for Monday, July 9, at Mount Carmel Cathedral.

Messages of condolences to Demapan’s family and appreciation to the former chief justice’s legacy continue to pour in.

Guam Chief Justice F. Philip Carbullido offered his condolences yesterday, saying, “He served the judiciaries of the CNMI, Guam, and Micronesia with integrity and fairness. His colleagues throughout the Marianas and Micronesia had the deepest respect and admiration for his untiring commitment to the rule of law.”

Members of the Guam Judiciary will attend the funeral on July 9.

Over the last two decades, Demapan served as a judge and justice pro-tem for the Superior and Supreme courts of Guam.

Delegate Gregorio Kilili Sablan (Ind-MP), in a statement, said Demapan served the CNMI “with honor throughout a distinguished career as an attorney and jurist. His loss at such an early age is a loss to us all.”

Acting chief justice Alexandro C. Castro said: “Chief justice Demapan was a compassionate and dedicated public servant who cared very deeply for the community and was committed to the cause of justice in the Commonwealth and throughout our Pacific region. He was not only a colleague but was my kompaire. I am extremely proud to have served with Chief Justice Demapan.”

Associate Justice John A. Manglona said: “Former chief justice Demapan was a leader who advocated for the independence of the Judiciary and who oversaw many positive changes during his tenure as chief justice. I knew him as a soft-spoken man with a quick smile who earned the respect of everyone who worked with him. My heart goes out to his loving wife Frances and their children.”

Presiding Judge Robert C. Naraja said: “It was an honor for me to work with former chief justice Demapan. I considered him to be a colleague and a friend, and he was an integral part of the Judiciary. We all wish his family the very best during this difficult time.”

Fitial and Lt. Gov Eloy S. Inos, in a statement, said Demapan was a “true guardian of the law and a highly regarded jurist who always upheld honor and humility each time he wore the judicial robe.”

Demapan passed away at the Commonwealth Health Center on Saturday afternoon. He was 59. He had undergone surgeries in his battle against colon cancer. Citing health reasons, Demapan resigned from the Supreme Court on Sept. 30, 2011 where he served as chief justice since 1999 or for 12 years.

Demapan was born and raised on Saipan in a family of nine children and graduated from Marianas High School in 1971. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Seattle University in Washington in 1975 and his Juris Doctor from Santa Clara University in California in 1985. In 2005 he also received a Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Guam.

He is survived by his wife Frances, his five children Michael, Patrick, Frannie, Soleana, and Micaela, his daughter-in-law Nina, his granddaughter Isabella Soledad, and many other family members and friends.

By Haidee V. Eugenio

Haidee V. Eugenio | Reporter
Haidee V. Eugenio has covered politics, immigration, business and a host of other news beats as a longtime journalist in the CNMI, and is a recipient of professional awards and commendations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental achievement award for her environmental reporting. She is a graduate of the University of the Philippines Diliman.

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