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Lt. Gov tells cabinet, Gov. Lolo recovering from surgery in Seattle

Lt. Gov. Lemanu Sialega Palepoi Mauga,

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga is recovering from surgery a week ago Wednesday at a Seattle hospital and he’s doing some physical exercises and resting with the First Lady, Cynthia Malala Moliga and other family members there.

This is according to Lt. Gov. Lemanu Sialega Palepoi Mauga, who is also the acting governor, during yesterday’s cabinet meeting, where he provided an update of Lolo’s condition, in the first public remarks with the news media present.

However, the governor’s specific medical condition or the name of the hospital where he is recovering was not mentioned by Lemanu, who told cabinet members that it's usually the beginning of the year that the governor heads to Washington D.C. for meetings, and to see doctors for his medical check-ups.

While in Hawai’i, the physicians recommended that the governor rest. However, to get a second opinion, the governor traveled to Seattle where he had another medical check up and was given the same recommendation — rest.

Throughout all this time, Lemanu said he has kept in phone contact with the governor. And last week Monday, Lemanu again spoke with Lolo, who mentioned surgery last Wednesday.

Based on information from the physicians, Lolo said he was to recover a week ago Thursday following the surgery and released the following day — last Friday.

Lemanu said the governor asked how the government and the people are doing. “And I informed him that things are going well and not to worry; and that we continue to pray for his full recovery.”

He added that the last words from the governor were: “Lemanu, always remember our government and our people.”

Lemanu explained that after surgery, the governor wasn’t recovering well — although he was still breathing — and the First Lady, along with other family members, were there with the governor, who was hooked up to a monitoring machine.

“The Governor was not in a coma” at the time, Lemanu pointed out, as there has been some speculations and rumors. He said he had spoken with the First Lady, who shared that the governor was resting but wasn’t awake, although family members were massaging his hands and feet.

By Tuesday this week, during a phone conversation with the First Lady, according to Lemanu, he was told the governor was still recovering and the monitoring machine had been removed. Additionally, the First Lady was able to talk to the governor but not in long conversations as he still needed to rest, as part of his recovery.

Then on Wednesday, the governor started doing some exercises to strengthen his muscles and body, after being unable to get up for several days.

Lemanu said when he spoke with the First Lady on Tuesday, she wanted to know “if I wanted to talk to the governor, but I preferred that the governor rest. As you all know, the governor will first ask about the government and our people. So it was best that he rest and continue his recovery.”

He apologized to cabinet members, especially the people of American Samoa for the delay in giving out information on the governor’s condition.

Lemanu said some in the community — including those who have called the Governor’s Office — are asking why there isn’t an update on Lolo’s condition and medical issues.

Lemanu acknowledged these concerns from the public, especially when Lolo is the governor of the territory. However, he said he believes this should come from the First Lady and the governor’s family, who are taking care of him.

Lemanu thanked those who have visited the governor in Seattle, noting that there are also questions on why he — as second-in-command for ASG — didn’t visit the governor, and why directors haven’t visited Lolo.

For himself, Lemanu said he wants to respect the governor’s request that “I look after the government and our people”. Additionally, visiting someone in the hospital, such as the governor, would be a burden to the First Lady and the Governor’s family “from the aspect of our Samoan culture” where the family would respond with courtesy gifts.

“If we visit, the governor will be asking a lot of questions on many issues instead of resting and not worrying,” Lemanu told cabinet members. “It’s always the governor’s goal and wish that we continue to serve the government and our people.”

“The governor will be very pleased to hear that we continue to move forward on the path already set by the Administration to help our people,” he said, and reminded cabinet members of the Administration’s theme: “People First”.