NMI mourns death of Rep. Frank Dela Cruz

REPRESENTATIVE Frank Dela Cruz’s colleagues in the House of Representatives, other officials, legislative staffers and police officers were at the Saipan airport Monday morning to greet his coffin which was flown from Tinian.

Dela Cruz, 56, was on Tinian when he suffered a fatal heart attack on Sunday. At the time, he and his family were visiting the island.

His coffin was accompanied by his widow, Lisa, and their children when it arrived at the Saipan airport before 11 a.m. Monday.

Also at the Saipan airport were Lt. Gov. Victor Hocog, Speaker Ralph Demapan, Reps. Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero, Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero, Angel Demapan and Joseph Leepan Guerrero.

From the airport, the coffin was transported to the Commonwealth Health Center morgue.

Variety learned that Gov. Ralph Torres was also at the airport earlier but had to board a Guam-bound plane to attend the inauguration of the island’s new governor, Lou Deleon Guerrero.

Dela Cruz  served as a Precinct 3 representative in the 15th, 16th, 17th,18th and 20th Legislatures. In November, he won a House seat in the 21st Legislature.

Among the most significant measures he authored as a lawmaker was the legislative initiative that made the attorney general an elective position.

His past and present colleagues joined community members in mourning his death, saying that they will always remember him as a passionate and humble public servant.

Tina Sablan, who served with Dela Cruz in the 16th Legislature and is an incoming member of the 21st, posted the following on Facebook:

“Rest in peace, Representative Frank Santos Dela Cruz — beloved father, grandfather, uncle, public servant, friend. It was an honor serving with you in the 16th Legislature; I was looking forward to serving with you again in the 21st. You were always a voice of reason and conscience, gentle and good-natured at heart, but a maverick and a fighter when the circumstances demanded it. Thank you for your dedication to the people of the Marianas, and for your friendship. My deepest condolences to Lisa, children, and family.�

Rep. Ed Propst, for his, part said:

“I am heartbroken and deeply saddened to hear of the sudden passing of our colleague, the Honorable Congressman Frank Santos Dela Cruz. Frank was my ‘neighbor’ on Capital Hill, as his office was right across mine. And as most good neighbors are, Frank was kind, candid, and respectful. As a good neighbor, Frank did not care what party you belonged to when it came to working for the people. Frank would share his keen insight and opinions on bills and was refreshingly honest, not holding back when something just didn’t seem right. But rather than just condemn bills, he would offer sensible solutions and amendments to make them better. Frank was as articulate as he was caring, and he would not hold back to express concerns, regardless of whether it would hurt him politically or not

“We lost a true leader, a loving and devoted family man who I regard as a dear friend, colleague, and statesman. I will miss his wisdom, his guidance, and his humility. God speed, God bless you colleague. Daisy and I offer our deepest, most heartfelt condolences to his wife Lisa and family, as well as our continued prayers. The CNMI mourns with you.�

Rep. Angel Demapan said he and his family  “join the Dela Cruz family and the people of the Commonwealth in mourning the untimely passing of our legislative colleague, the Honorable Francisco Santos Dela Cruz, Representative of Precinct 3, 20th Northern Marianas Commonwealth Legislature.â€�

Demapan added, “Frank was a leader who was driven by passion and commitment to advancing the greater good. He was never afraid to speak up for the causes he truly believed in. Today, we have lost a dedicated colleague and statesman; and for his family, a loving husband to Lisa, a devoted father to his four children and two grandchildren. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his entire family and pray for the repose of Frank’s soul. He will be dearly missed. Rest Peacefully, Colleague. Esta ki.�

Rep. Alice Igitol said she joins “my colleagues in the 20th Legislature as we mourn a great loss to our Commonwealth. My family and I express our deepest condolence to Lisa and the family of Honorable Representative Frank Santos Dela Cruz. Si Yu’us Ma’ase for your countless years of dedicated public service. It was an honor to serve alongside you prim. Rest in God’s peace.�

Rep. and Sen.-elect Vinnie Sablan said the late lawmaker was “a man with a passion to serve and represent our people. When he spoke on the floor, you could not only hear his message but feel it. Congressman Dela Cruz, it was an honor to have had the chance to serve with you. May the Lord take you into His eternal glory. My family and I send our most sincere condolences to your family.�

Rep-elect Luis John DLG Castro said his “family and my staff extend our deepest condolences to the family of Representative Francisco Santos Dela Cruz…. [He] served the people of Precinct 3 for five terms and was recently elected to a sixth term this past election before his sudden passing. A maverick by heart, he served with humility and love and respect for his people and our Commonwealth.�

Castro added, “I personally looked up to him and was looking forward to finally getting the chance to work with him in the Legislature. I will be forever indebted to his kindness and generosity. Today, his family mourns the loss of a beloved husband, father and grandfather. His precinct mourns the passing of a great and humble public servant. My colleagues and I lost a great friend and confidante. Our deepest thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Lisa, children and their families during this difficult time.�

Starting today, Tuesday, Jan. 8, a 6 a.m. Mass will be held daily to honor his memory at the Kristo Rai Church. The family will soon make a funeral announcement.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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