07 Jan 2019
- By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
REPRESENTATIVE Frank Santos Dela Cruz passed away on Tinian, Sunday. He was 56.
The cause of death was still unknown as of press time Sunday evening, but Variety learned that, from the Tinian airport, he was brought by an ambulance to the Tinian Health Center.
Some CNMI officials interviewed by this reporter said they were “shocked” by the news and could not comment.
In a proclamation, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said CNMI and U.S. flags will be lowered to half-staff as a show of respect for the lawmaker and his long-standing service in the Legislature.
“From my entire family and our Commonwealth,” the governor said in a statement, “we extend our condolences to the family of Congressman Frank Dela Cruz for his untimely passing.”
The governor added, “Congressman Dela Cruz was a humble, intelligent and tireless leader. I have worked with him from my time in the Legislature and now as governor, and he had always been articulate in the issues facing our islands. He believed in raising the standard of living in the Marianas by developing our economy responsibly, enhancing our infrastructure, and protecting our environment. He truly stood firm in his beliefs and always advocated for the best interest of Precinct 3 and the Commonwealth. This is what made him well-respected by his colleagues and by everyone he met.”
The governor said “we just lost a true public servant who served Precinct 3, the island of Saipan and the Commonwealth honorably and admirably. I join my colleagues in the Legislature in mourning as we honor his memory and life of service.”
Outgoing Rep. Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero said the Commonwealth has lost a great public servant.
“He was not just my colleague but a very close friend of mine. I am really and deeply saddened by his untimely passing. It’s very sad to hear the news. He will be remembered for his staunch positions on the issues. He strongly protected the people and the government against abuses. He was a very critical analyzer of bills. He was family-oriented — a good family man. It’s really a great loss to the people and to the Commonwealth.”
Dela Cruz served in the House of Representatives of the 16th, 17th and 18th Legislatures. He was unsuccessful in his re-election bid for the 19th Legislature but he won back his seat in the 20th Legislature and was re-elected last November.
Asked about a possible special election to fill the vacancy in the incoming 21st House created by Dela Cruz’s death, the administration said it will “consult with the Legislature, the attorney general, the CNMI Election Commission, and legal counsel on the matter.”
Dela Cruz is survived by his wife Lisa and their four children.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/109827-rep-frank-dela-cruz-passes-away