Members of the 20th CNMI Legislature remember the late Northern Islands mayor Jerome Kaipat Aldan as a champion of issues that affect the Northern Islands, including the volcanic island of Pagan.
Aldan collapsed from a suspected heart attack early Saturday morning and was pronounced dead by doctors at the Commonwealth Health Center, where he was rushed.
Saipan and Northern Islands Municipal Council chair Luis John Castro is the current acting mayor of the Northern Islands, pending the confirmation and swearing in of Vicente Cruz Santos Jr., who was second to Aldan in the 2015 general election.
Senate President Arnold I. Palacios (R-Saipan) said the CNMI lost a very courageous and vibrant young leader in Aldan. “He was a humble and respectful leader. I [found] him very dynamic and refreshing.”
“He [was] a leader that [was] true to his people’s causes and thoughts. He voiced out the concerns and position of the Northern Islands community, especially the military proposals. The entire Senate is saddened by his sudden passing.”
Palacios was shocked upon getting word that Aldan had died. “I was shocked when I woke up and was informed he died last Saturday. He was a real advocate in regards to the concerns of the Northern Islands community.”
“He respected the military and listened to their proposals but also gave his position on behalf of the people of the Northern Islands,” Palacios added.
Sen. Sixto K. Igisomar (R-Saipan) said that Aldan was a great son of the CNMI. “He [was] a leader that’s very vocal and always fought for ‘Gani’ [Pagan’s other name]. We give our condolences to the family and we join them in their time of grief.”
“Mayor Aldan [was] very active in the community and in making known the issues of Pagan. I previously worked with him in putting up some policies for the Northern Islands. We are hoping the next mayor would be as active and strong as he was,” Igisomar added.
Sen. Justo S. Quitugua (Ind-Saipan) also worked with the late mayor on some issues regarding the Northern Islands in the last Legislature. He even attended two of Aldan’s public hearings.
“We really respect Mayor Aldan for he put the people of the Northern Islands and their concerns first. He [was] an advocate of the homestead program and opposed the proposed bombing activities by the military.”
“Hopefully, his successor would continue to fight for the issues and legacy that he started. We should respect the job he has done, carry on the wishes of the people of the Northern Islands, and continue the fight for the benefit of their people and that is to prevent the military from destroying Pagan,” Quitugua added.
Rep. Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan) said he too talked with Aldan about preventing Pagan’s destruction. “Mayor Aldan’s passing is a tremendous loss for the entire CNMI. We lost a really strong champion and defender of our people and our land.”
“We have to move on from this but we are hoping that his successor would continue the work that he started, his legacy of continuing to fight to prevent Pagan’s destruction.”
Rep. Ivan A. Blanco (R-Saipan) also has kind words for Aldan. “It was really a shocking news for the entire community. We all know Mayor Aldan stood up for Pagan and the residents of the Northern Islands. He had a vision of developing Pagan so people could move back there.”
Minority leader Edmund S. Villagomez (Ind-Saipan) said the CNMI would dearly miss Aldan. “We previously worked together under his father, the late Toby Aldan, before he became mayor of the Northern Islands.”
“We are saddened that he would no longer be with us and at such a young age. He did not see some of his goals and development for the Northern Islands achieved, especially for his constituents.”