Perelló ‘Disappointed’ by Bernier’s Request to Resign
SAN JUAN –Following Popular Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate David Bernier’s request to the president of the House of Representatives, Jaime Perelló, to resign his post, the speaker said he felt “disappointed” by Bernier’s request and assured he has never contemplated giving up his post.
The move was not enough to please the New Progressive Party (NPP), as it is considers it move too late of a decision.
NPP Secretary-General William Villafañe said Thursday night that Bernier’s response was due not to his initiative but to public pressure. The resignation request does not extend to Perelló’s re-election bid.
“David Bernier’s belated request of Jaime Perelló responds to public pressure because of his lack of leadership. It wasn’t until the names of members of his own campaign committee came to light in the corruption case being heard in federal court that he acceded to ask for his resignation. It shows he has been protecting him until the evidence transcending in federal court left him no choice. It’s a late petition that isn’t accompanied by internal disciplinary measures at the PDP,” Villafañe said in a written statement.
Bernier’s request came after he avoided commenting on the government corruption case underway in federal court and has put a spotlight on people connected to that party.
Bernier ended up requesting Thursday evening the resignation of Speaker Perelló.
“After offering the president of the House of Representatives space to reflect upon and act in an objective manner, putting the interests of the country and the Popular Democratic Party before his, it is my request that he resign from the chamber’s presidency.”
Bernier also suspended former Sen. Eder Ortiz from his position in the party’s governing board.
“We will continue to watch this situation and make the decisions that my conscience and the best interests of the country and the Party require in defense of honesty in public office and values in the new way of doing politics that I defend and practice,” Bernier added in his statement.
Perelló has been under fire for the past two weeks, after among other potential connections, Inter News Service (INS) reported that he received up to $45,000 in cash during his election campaign from the hands of now convicted Lutgardo Acevedo after a trip along the coast of Boquerón, along with also convicted Anaudi Hernández Pérez, who was part of his campaign finance committee and who led a corruption scheme for which six people have already pled guilty.
Among these, the House’s former administrator, Xavier González, and former technology director, Víctor Burgos.
Eder Ortiz, who is not accused, was Hernández’s partner and also helped the party fundraiser’s companies score government contracts. Ortiz was also Gov. Alejandro García Padilla’s electoral commissioner.
INS revealed information before the trial of four other defendants in the corruption scheme began Monday, including that Perelló received gifts and was associated closely with the accused.
According to INS sources, federal authorities still believe they can accuse Perelló.
Bernier has been questioned every day about what decision he would take against Perelló amid consensus the matter affects his campaign.
Perelló seems to have had a close relationship with many of the people Hernández lobbied for or those accused of corruption, including “Hectorín” Vargas, Hernández’s partner, who pled guilty in the corruption scheme.
“The truth will continue to be revealed to the public. It seems Perelló is not the only one who will have to ask for resignation,” Villafañe added.
Ismael Torres contributed to this report.
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