Lack of Attendance Derails House Special Session
With the absence of nine representatives of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) and 19 of the New Progressive Party (NPP), the House of Representatives was unable to start the work of the special session convened Wednesday by Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla, since they did not obtain the quorum of 26 representatives.
Although the session began almost four hours late, when the interim House Speaker Roberto Rivera Ruiz de Porras ran the attendance list, he had to put a stop to the proceedings and instead convene the lower chamber for next Tuesday, December 27, at 1:00 p.m.
The absent representatives from the PDP included Lydia Méndez Silva, Víctor Vassallo, Nardén Jaime, Brenda López de Arrarás, Sonia Pacheco, José Báez — who anticipated that he would not participate in any special session–Luisa “Piti” Gándara, who is hospitalized, Ángel Matos And José “Conny” Varela.
On the NPP side, only the alternate minority leader Carlos “Johnny” Méndez, José Aponte, Luis Junior Pérez, Waldemar Quiles and José “Pellé” Santiago were in attendance.
The interim House speaker explained to journalists at the end of the special session that the attendance issue of is something that corresponds not only to the PDP majority but also the NPP minority.
He argued that the sergeant-at-arms called several of the absent lawmakers, many of whom said they were on their way to the Capitol, but never came. Ruiz de Porras added that they have not evaluated whether they have the votes to approve the 16 legislative measures included by Garcia Padilla in this special session.
Absenteeism has been affecting the work in the House since the last special session, which was convened a few weeks after the elections.