Legislature memorial for Dela Cruz

Posted on Jan 24 2019

Lisa Manglona Dela Cruz, seated right, holds back her tears as she and other members of their family listen to speeches delivered to honor the late representative Francisco S. Dela Cruz in last Tuesday’s memorial tribute at the House of Representatives chamber of the Hon. Jesus P. Mafnas Memorial Building on Capital Hill. (Jon Perez)

The Legislature last Tuesday held a memorial tribute to honor the years of public service of the late representative Francisco S. Dela Cruz. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate presented the family, led by Dela Cruz’s widow Lisa and their children, with separate resolutions, while Gov. Ralph DLG Torres gave a memorial plaque honoring his outstanding contributions to the CNMI.

House Speaker Blas Jonathan T. Attao (R-Saipan) said that the former vice speaker in the 18th Legislature was a known faithful public servant. “His legacy is one that can never be duplicated, but can only be emulated by those who seek to serve in public office.”

Dela Cruz, who died last Jan. 6, was a member of the House from the 15th to 18th Legislature and again in the 20th. He was reelected to serve again in the 21st Legislature but died before the inauguration last Jan. 14.

Attao recalled that while he was still a Legislative Bureau staff, he had the chance to work closely with Dela Cruz in several pieces of legislation. “I was able to witness first hand his sincere genuine demeanor and his remarkably unbreakable devotion to our beloved Commonwealth.”

He added that Dela Cruz was one of the legislators who witnessed the CNMI’s ups and downs while in office. “He remained humble as our Commonwealth was flourishing and resilient when it was dwindling.”

Attao said Dela Cruz remained steadfast in going up against the inequalities and discrepancies that threaten the livelihood and well-being of the people. “When matters seemed dark and bewildered, [Dela Cruz] remained courageous and obstinate in doing what he felt in his heart was right event if it angered a few people.”

“His loyalty transcended the boundaries of Precinct 3 and reached lengths as far out as our great Commonwealth could reach. The example he set forth throughout his tenure as an elected official, is one that many of us should follow and carry on as we face the pressing issues that plague our communities.”

House floor leader John Paul P. Sablan (R-Saipan) spoke in behalf of the Third Senatorial District in conveying their condolences and prayers to the family of Dela Cruz. “We’re deeply saddened of his untimely passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.”

“Representative Dela Cruz was a humble, hardworking, and true public servant for the people of Precinct 3 and the entire CNMI. We will forever treasure the memories of working with our beloved Frank. He is a true statesman and for that we thank you for allowing us to hold this memorial tribute.”

Torres, in his brief remarks, said that Dela Cruz showed the true sense of a gentlemen. “Whether here at the office or outside, I have never met anyone that holds his composure like him. We would debate here, but you will never see him get up or show action showing anger. He has been held to be a gentleman and that has learned a lot of respect from all of us here.”

Torres served with Dela Cruz in the 17th and 18th Legislatures with the latter as the Senate president. “He is a family man, I get to know him in behalf of his family. He would go the extra distance for his love of his family.

“It is a great honor for me to serve in the same legislature. Thank you for allowing him to serve with us. Surely you can walk the streets with your head up high and standing tall because he is a true gentleman and statesman. I will not be here to testify if I don’t mean it.”

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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