Statements on the passing of former Guam speaker Joaquin C. Arriola 


CNMI Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres issued the following statement yesterday on the passing of former attorney and Guam Legislature speaker Joaquin C. Arriola:

I am saddened to hear of the passing of former attorney and speaker for the Guam Legislature Joaquin C. Arriola.

Speaker Arriola was a respected and iconic leader whose integrity, vision, and character shall be remembered for generations. Attorney Arriola left an indelible mark upon the legal profession as a remarkable attorney of over 67 years, whose work greatly impacted the practice of law within the region. His longstanding service will be recorded in the annals of history for having helped shape the face of public policy, law, and politics on Guam and throughout the Marianas in our common era.


On behalf of my family and the people of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, we express our heartfelt condolences to his children, family, and friends. We thank him for his valuable contributions to the practice of law in the Pacific, and he will truly be missed.

Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero and Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio issued the following statements on the passing of former speaker Joaquin C. Arriola: 

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero: We join the island of Guam in mourning the passing of Honorable Speaker Joaquin C. Arriola, a trailblazer for our local law community at the forefront of Guam’s judicial history, who was one of the first CHamoru lawyers. With his respected integrity in law, in addition to his public service as a lawyer, judge, senator, and island leader, Speaker Arriola devoted 67 years of his life to ensuring the people of Guam had a voice of moral fortitude representing them not only in important legal matters but also as a notable war hero who helped rebuild Guam from the ashes of World War II. We extend our sincerest condolences to his children Jacqueline, Anita, Lisa, Vincent, Franklin, Michael, Joaquin Jr., and Anthony.

Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio: The passing of Speaker Arriola is especially felt as our island works toward recovery and the commemoration of our 78th Liberation Day. As a war survivor who endured Guam’s occupation and helped American forces free our people, we are deeply saddened by this giant loss in our Greatest Generation. Speaker Arriola carved out a legal career that would eventually lead to generations of civic leadership including as president of the Guam Bar Association, associate justice of the Supreme Court of Guam, and senator for six terms in the Guam Legislature. He was a postwar role model for resolute civic engagement whose legal contributions significantly advanced and protected justice and the rule of law. Our island continues to benefit from the fruits of his public service, including through laws he passed to strengthen Guam’s judiciary, legal structures, hospital, health care, and public lands.

Below is a statement from Speaker Therese Terlaje on behalf of the 36th Guam Legislature:

Today, our island mourns the loss of Joaquin C. Arriola, a war survivor, former Justice pro tempore, senator, and speaker of the Guam Legislature.
The Honorable Joaquin C. Arriola was one of Guam’s first Chamorro lawyers who was at the forefront of Guam’s legal history.  He served as a senator in the 3rd and 4th Guam Legislatures as well as speaker of the 9th and 10th Guam Legislatures in addition to his extensive years of legal practice.  Speaker Arriola advocated greater self-government for the people of Guam, and was recognized for his exemplary legal work and civic service as a recipient of the Hustisia Award in 2014 and the Judge Cristobal Duenas Excellence Award in 2017.

Speaker Arriola’s commitment, dedication, and outstanding public service have greatly influenced the practice of law, having dedicated 67 years of his life in service to the people of Guam.

 We join the family of the late Speaker Arriola in mourning their loss and offer our deepest condolences and prayers during their time of sorrow.

Guam vice speaker Tina Rose Muña Barnes issued the following statement on the passing of speaker Joaquin “Kin” C. Arriola: 

Today, our island mourns the passing of one of Guam’s esteemed statesmen.
Speaker Joaquin “Kin” C. Arriola was a tireless champion for justice, civil rights, and self-governance. Speaker Arriola played a critical role in the establishment of local gubernatorial elections, ending a 20-year period of presidential appointments of our island’s executive leadership, and for pushing the creation of a Guam delegate in Congress.

As one of Guam’s first CHamoru lawyers, Speaker Arriola founded Guam’s oldest law firm and began his service to the island. Soon, he ran for the Guam Legislature and served in 3rd and 4th Guam Legislatures and in the 9th and 10th Guam Legislature as speaker.

After running for governor in 1970, Speaker Arriola returned to his roots and began a legal career filled with civic leadership including presidency of the Guam Bar Association, membership in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Bar Association, a part-time associate justiceship at the Supreme Court of Guam, as well as service on boards and commissions in Guam.

Speaker Arriola helped shape our island into what it is today, and his legacy will live on through the impact he has made during his decades of service to the people of Guam. I express my deepest condolences to his family and those who loved him.

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