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Last updateWed, 19 Dec 2018 12am

     

     

     

     

     

    Monday, December 17, 2018-4:58:01A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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New governor, lt. governor sworn in

GOVERNOR Eloy Songao Inos passed away on Monday evening in Seattle, Washington where he was recuperating after open heart surgery. He was 66.

His family members informed acting Gov. Ralph Torres of his death at 9:42 a.m. Tuesday, CNMI time.

Torres immediately called for an emergency cabinet meeting and later released a media statement which stated:

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The new governor is sworn in. From left, Chief Justice Alex Castro, Press Secretary Ivan Blanco, public information specialist Luis Castro, Gov. Ralph Torres and his wife, Diann.The new governor is sworn in. From left, Chief Justice Alex Castro, Press Secretary Ivan Blanco, public information specialist Luis Castro, Gov. Ralph Torres and his wife, Diann.

“Despite initial signs of improvement after his surgery in Seattle, his condition deteriorated and our governor passed on. Details from his doctor of his medical condition are not available at this time.”

There is no information yet as to when the late governor’s body will be flown back to the CNMI.

Special Assistant for Administration Esther Fleming said the Inos family is now making funeral arrangements and more information will be announced as soon as it becomes available.

The late governor’s sister, Juanet Takai, in a phone interview, expressed gratitude to all the people who have been praying for her brother.

After the cabinet meeting, Torres was sworn in as the ninth governor of the commonwealth by Presiding Judge Robert C. Naraja at the administration building on Capital Hill.

A little past 3 p.m. Torres and Senate President Victor B. Hocog, the CNMI’s new and 11th lt. governor, took their oaths of office at the multi-purpose center in Susupe.

The ceremony was delayed for a while because Hocog and his wife had to fly in from Rota.

CNMI Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexandro Castro separately administered the oaths of office to the new governor and lt. governor, their wives standing at their sides.

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Victor B. Hocog takes the oath of office as the new lt. governor with his wife, Villia, holding the Bible.  Photos by Raquel C. BagnolVictor B. Hocog takes the oath of office as the new lt. governor with his wife, Villia, holding the Bible. Photos by Raquel C. Bagnol

Hocog also tendered his resignation on Tuesday as Senate president of the 19th Legislature.

He said the Senate will conduct a session in January to officially announce the new leadership.

As of now, the acting Senate president is Senate Vice President Frank Borja who said he will appoint Senate Floor Leader Arnold Palacios as the acting vice president.

Inos left the commonwealth for the states after his birthday in September and underwent heart surgery in Seattle.

The administration said the surgery went well, but the governor was advised to rest for full recovery. He was supposed to return to Saipan early next month.

An accounting graduate (cum laude) of the University of Guam, Inos served as finance and administration director of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands and headed the Department of Finance during the administrations of Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio, Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero and Benigno R. Fitial. He also served as chairman of the first Saipan and Northern Islands Municipal Council — the only elected office he held before he was elected lt. governor in 2009.

Earlier that year, he was appointed lt. governor when then-Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Villagomez resigned.

In Feb. 2013, Inos became governor following the resignation of then-Governor Fitial.

In Nov. 2014, with then-Senate President Ralph D.L.G. Torres as his running-mate, Inos finished first on Election Day and won 57 percent of the votes in the runoff.