Memorial held for Senator Ben Pangelinan - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Memorial held for Senator Ben Pangelinan

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 by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Nearly a week since his passing, island residents gathered late this afternoon to remember the life of the late senator Ben Pangelinan.

Tessie Marcos has known Pangelinan for over three decades. In fact, she remembers distinctly their first day of work at FHP. "We walked through the door of the office of FHP on the third floor of the ITC Building on the same day and the same time September 24, 1979 at 8am," she recalled.

She recalls both applying for the same job as member relations representative which Pangelinan got over her because she says he spoke better Chamorro. Today as she attended the state memorial service she recalls some of her fond memories of him. "Amongst the characters he has for the love of the people, very serious, he has a very funny side to him too, so we will miss him very much," she said.

Others like John Mafnas also remember the lighter side of Pangelinan, saying, "But Ben had a great sense of humor - one of the things I'm going to miss about him is we both had a love for classic rock, and he was a great fan of music and so was I."

Mafnas worked with Pangelinan when he was one of the owners of an advertising agency named Images in the early 90s. Mafnas is known as a political strategist today and says Pangelinan was one of his first successful candidates. He knew early on that Pangelinan had a bright future. "Even before he ran, if you knew Ben, you knew he was going to do something and he wasn't going to do something for himself but he was going to do something really good for the island."

Pangelinan was born in Saipan and raised on Guam. CNMI governor Eloy Inos says Pangelinan tackled issues that affected not only Guam but the CNMI. He says "he was widely respected by his colleagues and from both ends of our island chain. Though he may be gone, we can all take solace in the fact that through his work, the next generation of our islands' leaders will have a path they can follow because of the diligence and humility of this great Chamorro."

And for Ed Pocaigue, who worked as a staff assistant for then-speaker Pangelinan in the 27th Guam Legislature. He shared that he'll miss the senator that many knew as a fighter for the people. "Speaker Ben, thanks for all you've done for the people of Guam and the Northern Marianas and one day we shall all meet again," he said. 

Speaker Judi Won Pat says this is the third state funeral held outdoors, the first were for Governor Ricky Bordallo and Senator Angel Santos. She says this fits with Senator Ben's character in being close with the island, it's people and culture. The funeral is set for Friday, July 18 at the St. Francis Church in Yona.
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