Guam - Today the state funeral for the late Senator Ben Pangelinan was held but it was held somewhere that no state funeral was held before. According to Speaker Judi Won Pat this is the first time a state funeral has been held at the Plaza De Espana.
According to Speaker Won Pat it was held here at the request of Senator Pangelinan's family.
The Speaker says it would allow for the less formal island casual attire and it would accommodate anyone from the public who wanted to attend, which is how she says Senator Pangelinan would've wanted it. The Speaker says only former Governor Ricky Bordallo and Former Senator Angel Santos had their state funerals outside of the legislature but both were for overnight wakes at Adelup. This is the first time a state funeral is being held at the Plaza De Espana.
"So this will be a very befitting state funeral basically for someone like Speaker Ben so you will see how different this will be yet very dignified and very stately," said Speaker Won Pat.
Numerous cultural groups were on hand to pay tribute through songs and chants. The group of GovGuam retirees known as the Lola Cola group were also there to pay their respect. "He's one of the last fighters down there that really talked the talk and walked the walk that was Ben he fought for us,” said Frank Hill. "Ben deserves this special presentation not only from the Lola Cola but the other survivors that Ben worked so hard [for]. The presentation there reflects all of the generosity that he has been able to help us [with] when he was alive,” said Joseph Chargualaf. "We're gonna miss him so much like I said one of a kind,” said Hill.
The Magalahi (male leader) of I Nacion Chamoru (Chamorro Nation) Danny “Pagat” Jackson says that Senator Pangelinan will be greatly missed by himself and other members of the Chamoru nation. "He's been so helpful into our own movement of the indigenous rights and our own inherited rights. It's so sad now that he left us and we cannot, we don't even have the time to say to him adios and thank you and saina ma'ase adios ben hu guiya hao ben adios esta ki,” said Jackson.
The funeral mass for Senator Pangelinan will be held on Friday July 18th at the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Yona after which he will be laid to rest.