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Sen. Mari Tere González stops reelection bid following corruption trial testimony

By on September 7, 2016

Sen. Mari Tere González

Sen. Mari Tere González (Inter News Service photo)

SAN JUAN – Popular Democratic Party Sen. Mari Tere González announced Wednesday that she is not seeking reelection but will remain in her
Mayagüez-Aguadilla seat until Dec. 31.
Gonzalez opted to leave after Bernier demanded her resignation after she invoked her right against self-incrimination during testimony in the ongoing federal trial involving a pay-for-play scheme headed by Anaudi Hernandez, a PDP campaign fundraiser.
González declined to answer a question involving a political donation given to her by Hernández.
“More important than my personal interest is the well-being of the Popular Democratic Party. That is why I am making my candidacy available,” she said, adding that she leaves with a clear conscience that she has done nothing wrong.

Bernier said earlier in the day that he would discuss the matter with her.

“I will act with the same firm and clear stance as I have acted before,” Bernier said at the time.

When asked if having González or former House Speaker Jaime Perelló on the PDP ballot would hurt him, he replied, “It hurts all of Puerto Rico.”

On the other hand, Bernier said that now that acting House Speaker Roberto Rivera Ruiz de Porras has made public an audit into the contract given to Hernández’s company 3Comm Global to install the lower chamber’s switchboard, he said that lawmakers should move forward and elect a new House speaker.

He reiterated that he plans to have a new Legislature with new leaders.

“Looking to the future, we cannot go back to the times of the Empresarios con Rosselló or Anaudi,” he said referring to two cases of alleged influence-peddling by business groups.

Other gubernatorial candidates said the elected officials mentioned by Hernández should not run because in the political world perception is everything. Alexandra Lúgaro, however, said the federal trial must be allowed to continue before accusing anyone because political parties must also act lawfully.

“I think Bernier has set the standard too high. If he gets rid of people merely for being mentioned by Anaudi, he’s gonna end up running by himself,” she said.

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