Senate honors former Gov. Froilan Tenorio, former Speaker Jose Lifoifoi

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IT was a solemn Thursday morning as the Senate presented two resolutions honoring former Gov. Froilan C. Tenorio and former Speaker Jose R. Lifoifoi.

The former governor passed away on May 4; he was 80 years old.  On May 18, the 83-year-old former speaker died.

Senate President Victor B. Hocog said, “To the families of both past leaders, on behalf of my family, the people of Rota, and the whole Commonwealth, we extend our sincere appreciation for all of the services that these two fine gentlemen have rendered intelligently and passionately to build our Commonwealth during their time, and we extend our sincere sympathy for the family.”

He added, “I understand that each of the families understands the health challenges [Tenorio and Lifoifoi respectively] faced. Families are prepared for this when it comes, but they are not prepared, actually, at this time of the year, for their passing.”

Senators present a plaque to the family of the late former Speaker Jose R. Lifoifoi. Photo by K-Andrea Evarose S. Limol

 

 Senators present a plaque to the family of the late former Gov. Froilan C. Tenorio. Photo by K-Andrea Evarose S. Limol

With great sadness, Hocog said, he recalled conversing with Tenorio earlier this year when the former governor was hospitalized in Texas.

Hocog said Tenorio, the last Democrat to be elected CNMI governor, then switched his red “Make America Great Again” cap in favor of a blue one.

When asked why he changed caps, Tenorio told Hocog jokingly, “You never know who is not a Trump supporter here.”

Hocog served as the Commonwealth Ports Authority board chairman when Tenorio was governor from 1994 to 1998.

In the 1989 gubernatorial election, Hocog was Tenorio’s running mate. They lost to the Republican tandem of Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero and Benjamin T. Manglona.

In his remarks on Thursday, Hocog said Tenorio wished to be cremated so as not to burden his loved ones.

“It is true that [Tenorio] was known as a leader that could change his mind right now and fire you through fax if you couldn’t do your job. He didn’t need to see you. He would just fax you a termination letter, but one good thing about [him] was that he wasn’t vindictive.”

Tenorio would take time to think about other people’s points of view before determining which path was the right one to take, Hocog recalled.

Distinguished member

Senate Floor Leader Justo Quitugua, who knew former Speaker Lifoifoi personally, said, “My wife and my children join me in extending our sympathy and condolences to the [family of] an honorable and distinguished member of the Tanapag community, former Speaker Jose Lifoifoi. He was a person that really cared about the people. I see him as a person that was not only liked by the people of the CNMI, but because of his personality, he was also liked by governments and communities throughout Micronesia. If you mention his name throughout Micronesia, everybody knows who Jose Lifoifoi was. He was a person who liked to mingle and show friendliness to all of the people he came across.”

The families of Tenorio and Lifoifoi expressed their deep appreciation to the Senate for the commemorative resolutions.

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