Flag at half-mast at House of Justice
By Ferdie Dela Torre
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Justices Miguel S. Demapan, John A. Manglona and Alexandro C. Castro have ordered to display the CNMI flag at half-mast in honor of the late Justice and Judge Ramon Garrido Villagomez.
Demapan, Manglona, and Castro directed that the CNMI flag at the House of Justice be flown at half-mast commencing last Friday and ending on Dec. 12.
The justices said this is in honor of the late justice's "valuable contribution to the Rule of Law in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands as an associate justice, justice pro tempore, and judge of the Commonwealth Judiciary."
Chief Justice Demapan also ordered the closure of the judiciary yesterday at 3pm so that the courts' staff may attend a prayer service for Villagomez at the Nuestra Senora dela Paz Memorial Chapel at the Cabrera Center in Garapan.
"Except those Superior Court staff who are involved in the on-going trial before Presiding Judge Robert Naraja, everyone is required to attend," said Demapan in a memorandum to the judges, justices and courts staff.
Villagomez, widely known in the local community as forefather of Article 12, passed away last Wednesday at 11:56pm at the Commonwealth Health Center. He was 56.
Villagomez had been in a comma since he suffered a massive heart attack in April 2000.
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.
Villagomez 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.