Island Mourns Loss of Late Senator Pangelinan - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Island Mourns Loss of Late Senator Pangelinan

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 by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - The island is mourning the loss of Sen. Ben Pangelinan. The Democrat lawmaker served 20 years in the Guam legislature and passed away this morning after being in the Intensive Care Unit at the Guam Memorial Hospital for the last several weeks.

Several of the island’s dignitaries have extended their condolences. Speaker Judith Won Pat stated the island of Guam suffered a tremendous loss. “Speaker Pangelinan was a true leader and genuine statesman, who worked hard for the people of Guam,” she said “He was a dear friend and mentor and I am deeply saddened by the news of his passing. I send my sincerest condolences to his family,” she added.

Former Governor Carl T.C Gutierrez and former First Lady Geri Gutierrez said they were extremely saddened by the Senator’s passing, “Ben was a great and passionate leader, and he loved the people he was honored to serve.  He was not afraid to fight for what was right, and he never backed down, even when the odds were against him.  For that, he had my deep respect.  His death is a great loss to our island community, and I know he will be missed.”

Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo said she was deeply saddened. She added that Ben was a dedicated public servant who worked diligently to improve our island, “As a ten-term senator, and former speaker in the Guam legislature, he championed many issues for our families, and he fought for his convictions. He was a tireless advocate for Chamorro self-determination, and he was a careful steward of our public funds. I was honored to work with him throughout his career and will deeply miss his friendship,” Bordallo stated.

Democratic Party of Guam Chairperson Sen. Rory Respicio commented that Sen. Pangelinan was a true Democrat and a great Senator, “As a colleague, Speaker Ben was always a great example to all of us of what it meant to be a public servant. He was a man of ideals and not ambition. He believed in helping working families and those in need. He always fought for what he felt was right, even if it was not popular at the time.  With Speaker Ben's passing, the Democratic Party has lost an outstanding leader, and our island community has lost a noble public servant."

The Judiciary of Guam also issued a statement on the passing of the veteran lawmaker “Speaker Pangelinan will be remembered for his expertise and foresight in public finance and government operations. Through his career in the legislature, he shaped public policy to favor transparency, openness, and equality. He is counted as an early and steadfast supporter for the independence and unification of the Judiciary of Guam. On behalf of the judicial officers and employees of the Judiciary of Guam, we extend our condolences to the Pangelinan family and his loved ones,” stated Chief Justice Robert Torres.

Governor Eddie Calvo was at the Guam Memorial Hospital this morning paying his respect. He declared the island in a State of Mourning to honor the life of the late Senator Pangelinan. “This is a sad day for Guam. Sen. Pangelinan was a fighter. He devoted his entire life to serving our island as a watchtower for clean government. I respect the man, and I will miss him," Governor Calvo said.

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