Remembering Angel Santos
By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Variety News Staff
CHAMORRO activists will join the family of the late Sen. Angel L. G. Santos tomorrow in commemorating the death of the most vocal advocate of Chamorro rights, credited for forcing the implementation of the Chamorro Land Trust Act in 1992.
Debbie Quinata, tribunal council member of I Nasion Chamoru, said the gathering at the Angel L.G. Santos Latte Stone Memorial Park in Hagatna, which starts 6 p.m. tomorrow, is open to “everyone who believes in what Angel had fought for.”
Quinata said the gathering will provide a venue for local community leaders and residents to reflect on Santos’s legacy to the Chamorro people.
Quinata remembers Santos’ passion and devotion to the causes he took up.
“People only saw him as an activist. What some didn’t see in him was the charismatic person who truly believed in protecting the inalienable rights of all Chamorros. He believed in freedom of speech,” Quinata said.“He felt that if we were complacent and if we quietly accept what was handed to us by the administrative power, then that’s all we will get, which is pretty much nothing,” she added.
Santos, a three-term senator, first shot to prominence when he took part in a month long campout in front of the governor’s office, a protest move that forced the implementation of the Chamorro Land Trust Act.
In 2000 Santos served six months in federal prison for violating a 1993 court order to stay off U.S. Air Force land he claimed belonged to his grandfather. He was elected to the Guam Legislature after his release.
On July 6, 2003, Santos succumbed to an illness that was later diagnosed as mad cow disease.
Quinata said tomorrow’s gathering will start with a rosary and will be followed by remarks from family members, community leaders and residents.
The 27th Legislature has name Latte Stone Park in memory of the late senator.
The Legislature noted that “many of the successes the Chamorro people have achieved in recent years have been the result of the activism and championing of the issues by the late Senator Santos, most especially those issues dealing with the return of excess federal land, and the disbursement of Chamorro Land Trust property to eligible Chamorros.”