As the Commonwealth commemorates the first anniversary of his passing, the late governor Eloy S. Inos is best remembered by many CNMI officials and those closest to him as a leader with a vision for the CNMI.
While serving as the CNMI’s eighth chief executive, Inos died on the afternoon of Dec. 28, morning of Dec. 29 in the CNMI, while recovering in a Seattle hospital after an open-heart surgery.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres told Saipan Tribune that he lost a friend and mentor when the former governor died last year. “It was one of the saddest and shocking news for me to receive this time last year.”
“I definitely felt an empty part in my heart for losing a mentor that respects my inputs and shared my vision. We worked very closely and we share the same vision for the CNMI, which is to revive the economy up to where we needed to fund the government’s basic services,” Torres said.
He added that Inos took risks in order to get their vision off the ground.
He said the former governor’s plans and their partnership resulted in changes in the CNMI’s once weak economy. “Because it is the only way for us to get revenue for the government—revenue that can be used to address basic services and programs for the people. When he passed away and I assumed office, I made sure his vision would continue since that is what the people voted us for. That is what the people voted us for.”
“The vision that we have under the Republican Party and the same vision that we had: proven leadership, and providing a better lifestyle and living for the community,” Torres said.
Houser Speaker Rafael S. Demapan (R-Saipan) recalled how Inos served the CNMI during the time when the economy was struggling. “He was known to be a very humble person and a remarkable leader. We continue to pray for his family.”
“His legacy and contribution is—he was there during the time when the CNMI needed him most, during the time when the economy was down. The things that he did for the Commonwealth will be forever remembered.”
Demapan said he felt that he lost a special friend after Inos died. “I often think of him on what would be his advice when we deliberate on issues and policies. I often seek his counsel when I need good advice. I know he is spiritually with us.”
House minority leader Ramon A. Tebuteb (Ind-Saipan) and Rep. Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan) also commended the work Inos did in leading the CNMI during one of its most difficult times.
“It seems like a long time ago. We had great respect for him after what he did to the CNMI during those difficult times and when he was elevated to become governor. He has always been a person with a vision and very articulate [but] he comes down to your level,” said Tebuteb.
“He was the governor from the 18th to the 19th Legislature. It was really unfortunate a person with a good character like him had to leave us. We could always look after the late governor and emulate what he did. He led the CNMI during the toughest of times,” added Deleon Guerrero.
Rep. Blas Jonathan T. Attao (Ind-Saipan) said he is thankful that he had the chance to learn certain things from the late governor when they both worked for TanHoldings. He was fresh out of college when he worked under Inos’ guidance.
“He is a one guy that holds a lot of information and is very understanding. He could speak in different levels and pass on the knowledge that he had to whoever is interested in learning. He was not greedy in sharing his knowledge and is very protective of people under him.”
He added that Inos was also known as a hard working leader, especially when he became part of the Cabinet of former governor Benigno Fitial. “He made sure that there would be source of funds when he was still the Finance secretary. Whether it is for the rainy days, he was concerned with spending measures.”
Another member of the independent minority, Rep. Roman C. Benavente, recalled how Inos helped the Board of Education and the Public School System when he still handled the CNMI’s finances. Benavente is a former BOE chair.
“He was very well-rounded and took issues and other things that challenged him in a very positive way. I had the chance to work with him under the administration of [then-governor Fitial and former lieutenant governor Tim Villagomez] being the BOE chair at that time. He was then the Finance secretary and met him a number of times to discuss the PSS budget.”
“He made things happen, he did not back down from challenges and issues. He tried to solve problems as quickly as possible to the best of his abilities. Sometimes he won’t give us the budget that we needed but he always made sure that he won’t shortchange PSS. He always gave PSS enough budget for its operations and other needs.”
Rep. Vinson E. Sablan (Ind-Saipan) said that Inos proved to be one of the CNMI’s great leaders. “I never had the chance to work with him except in the 19th Legislature but he proved to be a great leader. He has held many positions both in the private and public sectors.”
“One thing that truly stands out was the way he led the CNMI during those difficult times. He knew his economic position and when to make his moves. He was fiscally responsible and he was able to keep the ship going despite the challenges that we faced back then.”