RICARDO J. BORDALLO was born in Agana, Guam. He attended the University of San Francisco and upon his return to Guam became a successful businessman. He was the member of the Guam legislature from 1956 to 1970, serving as minority leader in 1964. He chaired the Democratic Party of Guam from 1960-1963 and 1971-1973. He was elected governor in 1974. During his first term, he pursued the establishment of the Guam National Guard and the Guam Community College. He also secured funding to build the Guam International Airport, the U.S. Army Reserve Center, and recreational facilities at each of the island’s villages. In addition, he supervised all territorial government activities during Guam’s reconstruction after the supertyphoon Pamela in 1976 and during the Flight to Freedom of thousands of Vietnamese refugees in Operation New Life in 1977. He was reelected in 1982. Bordallo chaired Guam’s Commission on Self-Determination, served as chair of Guam’s Commission on Self Determination, and was active in a wide range of civic organizations.
In 1986, he lost the election and on 13 February 1987, Bordallo was found guilty on ten of seventeen counts of extortion, bribery or gratuity, conspiracy and witness tampering. The 9th Circuit overturned eight of the remaining ten convictions in August 1988. Only the convictions on witness tampering and conspiracy to obstruction of justice remained. After a failed appeal to the US Supreme Court, Bordallo faced a four-year sentence in a federal minimum-security prison beginning on 1 February 1990. Three hours before he was to fly to California on 31 January, Bordallo laid out a Guam flag on the ground in front of him and committed suicide.
Guampedia, “Governor Ricardo J. Bordallo,” Accessed 20 June 2018.
Inventory of the Papers of Governor Ricardo Jerome Bordallo, Working Papers #68. Micronesian Area Research Center, University of Guam, Mangilao, Guam 1996.
The Builder. Gubernatorial election campaign booklet, 1986. A copy can be found at the University of Guam Richard F. Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center.
Ige, Ron. “Bordallo Known as Dreamer, Builder: Lived Life of Triumph and Loss.” Pacific Daily News, February 1, 1990.
Maddock, Tambra. “Bordallo Dead: Ex-Governor Commits Suicide at Paseo.” Pacific Daily News, February 1, 1990.
Reyes, Edward Diego. “A Tribute to Governor Ricardo Jerome Bordallo.” Commemorative Ceremony, Ricardo J. Bordallo Governor’s Complex, Adelup, GU, 31 January 1997.
Rogers, Robert. Destiny’s Landfall: A History of Guam. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 1995.