Friday, December 02, 2005

Saipan Tribune Article about Dad

I don't know how the archives works for Saipan Tribune website, so I am going to republish the article in its entirety.

Justice Villagomez passes away

By Ferdie Dela Torre

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Former Judge and Justice Ramon Garrido Villagomez, widely known in the local community as the forefather of Article 12, passed away on Wednesday at 11:56pm at the Commonwealth Health Center. He was 56.

Villagomez had been in a coma since he suffered a massive heart attack in April 2000, family members told the Saipan Tribune yesterday.

The CNMI judiciary expressed its “deepest condolences to the family of the late Justice Villagomez.”

“Justice Villagomez was a dear friend to the Commonwealth Judiciary and he will be greatly missed,” said Director of Court Margarita M. Palacios.

“He was a true avant-garde. He had both short-term and long-term visions which were beneficial to the judicial system and even the entire Commonwealth,” said Associate Justice John A. Manglona.

Manglona said Villagomez held close to his heart the culture and tradition of the islands and took deliberate steps to make sure that they are passed on to future generations.

“The CNMI Judiciary extends an Un dangkulu na Si Yu’us Ma’ase” to Ramon G. Villagomez for his great service and contribution to the judicial system of the Commonwealth,” Manglona said.

Villagomez was appointed and confirmed as judge for the Trial Court in Jan. 1986. In May 1989, he became one of the first three justices of the CNMI Supreme Court.

He retired from the high court on Dec. 6, 1997. Altogether he served in the courts for 12 years.

The judiciary in a press statement said that as a judge and justice, Villagomez was known for his well-written decisions and opinions.

He organized the judiciary’s pre-law program, sending a number of residents to U.S. mainland law schools. After his retirement, he became the president of the NMI BAR Association and established the high school mock trial program.

Villagomez was survived by his wife Angelina Chong Villagomez.His children are Tiana M. and Jake Galloway, Angelo O. Villagomez, Alexander O. Villagomez, Abraham C. Villagomez and Jocelyn A. Alvarez; Solomon C. Villagomez and Ramon G. Villagomez II.

“He was my best friend,” Angelina Villagomez said.

Supreme Court deputy clerk Louise Hofschneider said Justice Villagomez hired her in May 1988 as his clerk when he was an Associate Judge.

“He’s a good boss. He was my mentor. He’s a great loss to the judiciary. He’s a good mentor and judge,” Hofschneider said, adding that Villagomez was a known advocate for indigenous people’s rights.

The nightly rosary is being held at 7:30pm at Kristo Rai Church in Garapan. The funeral services and Mass will be on Dec. 10 at Mt. Carmel Church at 7am.

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