Ricardo Bordallo

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The Honorable
Ricardo Bordallo
4th Governor of Guam
2nd Term
In office
January 3, 1983 – January 5, 1987
Lieutenant Edward Diego Reyes
Preceded by Paul McDonald Calvo
Succeeded by Joseph Franklin Ada
2nd Governor of Guam
1st Term
In office
January 6, 1975 – January 3, 1979
Lieutenant Rudolph Sablan
Preceded by Carlos Camacho
Succeeded by Paul McDonald Calvo
Senator in the Guam Legislature
In office
January 7, 1957 – January 4, 1971
Personal details
Born Ricardo Jerome Bordallo
(1927-12-11)December 11, 1927
Hagåtña, Guam
Died January 31, 1990(1990-01-31) (aged 62)
Chief Quipuha Park, Agana, Guam
Resting place Pigo Cemetery
Nationality Guamanian
Political party Democratic Party of Guam
Spouse(s) Madeleine Bordallo
(m. 1953–1990, his death)
Children Deborah Bordallo
Alma mater University of San Francisco
Profession Businessman, Politician
Religion Roman Catholic

Ricardo Jerome Bordallo (December 11, 1927 – January 31, 1990), also known as Ricardo J. Bordallo or Ricky Bordallo, was a Guamanian politician, businessman, and member of the Democratic Party of Guam. He served as Governor of Guam from 1975 to 1979 and again from 1983 to 1987.

Early life[edit]

Ricardo Jerome Bordallo was born in Hagåtña, Guam. He was the son of Baltazar Jeronimo Bordallo (August 8, 1900 – May 1984) as a businessman, who died when his father turns 83, and his mother Josefina Torres Pangelinan. He was the first child of a family including his brother Paul Joseph Bordallo (1930–2007), who was a former senator. BJ Bordallo was a popular politician from the 1930s to 1950s. Ricardo Bordallo attended the University of San Francisco before returning to Guam and becoming a successful businessman and car dealer. Among other positions, he was the proprietor of "Ricky's Suburban Club," a restaurant and bar in Tamuning, Guam. Bordallo also established as "Ricky's Auto Company" in the mid 50's and became Toyota's first American dealer car.

Personal life[edit]

He was married to Madeleine Zeien Bordallo in 1953; together they have one daughter Deborah, and one grandchild, Nicole Nelson. Bordallo's widow was an unsuccessful cadidate for governor in 1990, and served as Lieutenant Governor of Guam from 1995 to 2003, and as the island's Delegate to the United States House of Representatives since 2003.

Political career[edit]

Senator of the Guam Legislature[edit]

Bordallo was first elected to the Guam Legislature in 1956 as a member of the Popular Party (predecessor to the Democratic Party of Guam). Bordallo served in the territorial legislature from 1956 to 1970, and twice served as Chairman of the Democratic Party of Guam. As a senator, he introduced the law that first created an unofficial Guam delegate to the U.S. Congress.

Bordallo-Taitano Gubernatorial Ticket (1970)[edit]

Bordallo first ran for governor in the 1970 election, which was the first election in which the people of Guam were allowed to elect their governor. He ran with Senator Richard "Dick" Taitano against two other former gubernatorial teams: Former governor Manuel Guerrero and running mate Dr. Antonio C. (Tony) Yamashita, as well as attorney and former speaker Joaquin Camacho Arriola and running mate Vicente Bamba, retired judge and popular former senator. Bordallo-Taitano came in first in the primary election by a close margin over Guerrero-Yamashita, and then won the run-off election. However, due to the contentious Democratic campaign, Bordallo-Taitano lost in the general election to the Republican team of incumbents Carlos G. Camacho and Kurt S. Moylan. The election was significant for Bordallo, however, as he and Dick Taitano created Guam's first "grassroots" political organization throughout the villages.

Governorship (1975–1979)[edit]

Bordallo-Sablan Gubernatorial Ticket (1974)[edit]

Bordallo's wife, Madeleine, also proved to be a passionate and untiring campaigner and helped draw many supporters to the organization. This organization and base of supporters would prove valuable when Bordallo ran again in the 1974 election. Madeleine Bordallo was most known for her humanitarian pursuits. She sponsored many civil cultural events including the Guam Symphony and a program for instructing children in the Suzuki method of violin.

Bordallo ran for governor for a second time in 1974, this time with Rudolph "Rudy" Guerrero Sablan. They were up against four other Democratic tickets: Manuel Guerrero and running mate David D.L. Flores; Pedro C. Sanchez and Esteban U. Torres; and Joaquin Arriola and Theodore "Ted" Nelson. Dick Taitano was the manager of the Bordallo-Sablan campaign and broadened the organization he had set up in 1970. This organization proved decisive, and Bordallo-Sablan easily beat the other Democratic teams.

Bordallo-Sablan then went on to beat the Camacho-Moylan team, which had just barely beat the Republican rival team of Paul Calvo and Antonio Palomo in the primary. Calvo ran as a write-in candidate in the general election, drawing support from Camacho-Moylan, and Bordallo-Sablan won by less than 600 of the 22,000-plus votes.

First term 1975–79[edit]

Bordallo's first term in office, from 1975–1979, was contentious. He was characterized as highly charismatic but highly controversial. Someone wasn't afraid to speak his mind on any issue.[citation needed] During this time the issue of independence, statehood, commonwealth status or continuation as a U.S. territory was put to the voters. Senator Paul Bordallo, his brother, favored independence. The voters elected to keep the status quo as a dependent territory. Bordallo was successful in securing $367 million for typhoon reconstruction, capital improvement project and Government of Guam investments. A new was secured at the Guam Memorial Hospital.

Bordallo-Sanchez Gubernatorial Ticket (1978)[edit]

In 1978, Bordallo ran for re-election with a former University of Guam president Dr. Pedro C. Sanchez as his running mate for lieutenant governor. Lieutenant Governor Sablan declared his candidacy for the gubernatorial election and was a candidate in the September 1978 Democratic primary, along with his running mate for Lt. Governor was Attorney Jose Iglesias Leon Guerrero. Bordallo won the primary upon defeated by the Sablan-Leon Guerrero campaign with more votes. This time Bordallo was defeated as the Republican Calvo-Ada team won the election.

Governorship (1983–1987)[edit]

Bordallo-Reyes Gubernatorial Ticket (1982)[edit]

Bordallo ran for a third time political arena in 1982 with a political unknown, Air Force Colonel Eddie Reyes, as his running mate. He beat out Democrats Carl Gutierrez and John P. Aguon for the Democratic nomination and won office yet again. Promising to guide Guam out of the recession and push for commonwealth status, the Bordallo/Reyes ticket defeated incumbent Governor Calvo in the 1982 elections.

Second term 1983–87[edit]

Bordallo's second term in office, from 1983–1987. During his second term, Bordallo chaired the Commission for Self-Determination and spearheaded the drafting of the Guam Commonwealth Act developed by June 4, 1986. He addressed Guam's education problems with his 1983 "Blueprint for Excellence" and worked on the accreditation status of the University of Guam. He went to Washington D.C. on January 20, 1985 with congressman Ben Blaz at the Officers Club, and Andrews Air Force Base.

Bordallo-Reyes Gubernatorial Ticket (1986)[edit]

Bordallo seeks for re-election with Lt. Gov Edward D. Reyes as his running mate. He won during the primary election when their defeated by Senator Gutierrez and Senator John P. Aguon in the primary election. Bordallo made a bid for the Democrat gubernatorial nomination in 1986 where he was lost during this election day to former lieutenant governor Ada and senator Frank F. Blas in the general election.

Post-governorship[edit]

Criminal conviction[edit]

In February 1987, Bordallo was convicted on ten counts of corruption and was sentenced to nine years in prison and fined more than $100,000. He was accused of receiving over $100,000 worth of bribes and extortion in connection with favors he performed in office for campaign contributions. His convictions on eight counts of bribery and extortion were overturned in August, 1988, leaving charges of obstruction of justice and witness tampering. On December 13, 1989, he was sentenced to four years in prison on the remaining charges.[1]

Suicide[edit]

After his failed appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Bordallo faced a four year sentence in a federal minimum-security prison beginning on February 1, 1990. Three hours before he was scheduled to be transferred to a prison in Boron, California on January 31, 1990, the former Governor committed suicide in Hagåtña by wrapping himself in a Guam flag, chaining himself to statue of Chief Kepuha (also Quipuha, Guam's first native chief to convert to Roman Catholicism) located along Marine Corps Drive (the island's primary thoroughfare), and shooting himself in the head with a .38 caliber pistol. He had also set up four placards around the monument, one of which said: "I regret that I only have one life to give to my island," an altered quote by Nathan Hale.

Bordallo died of massive brain damage at 4:28 P.M. at Naval Hospital, aged 62. He was buried at Pigo Cemetery in western Hagåtña.

Honors[edit]

ADELUP, Guam (Nov. 11, 2011) Dignitaries release "Freedom Birds" during a Veterans Day ceremony at the Ricardo J. Bordallo Governor's Complex. (U.S. Navy photo by JoAnna Delfin/Released)

In January, 1997, former Lt. Governor Eddie Reyes was honored at Adelup administration facility was officially named as Ricardo J. Bordallo Governor's Complex in his honor.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Carlos Camacho
Governor of Guam
(1st Term)

1975–1979
Succeeded by
Paul McDonald Calvo
Preceded by
Paul McDonald Calvo
Governor of Guam
(2nd Term)

1983–1987
Succeeded by
Joseph F. Ada
Party political offices
Preceded by
None
Democrat gubernatorial election
1970 (lost)
1974 (won)
1978 (lost)
1982 (won)
1986 (lost)
Succeeded by
Madeleine Bordallo