NPP Legislator Files Complaint against Cruz for Backing Protests
SAN JUAN (INS)—New Progressive Party (NPP) Rep. Jorge Navarro Suárez filed a complaint against San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz on Wednesday, after the mayor revealed she has used $20,000 in public funds to finance activities against the Financial Oversight & Management Board.
Navarro Suárez, who submitted his complaint to the Comptroller’s Office and the Government Ethics Office, said that the use of public funds for private protest “is not only unconstitutional, but also constitutes a violation of the Government Ethics Act.”
“The merits or demerits of the protest that a small group of citizens are carrying out against the fiscal board are not the issue,” he said. “What we cannot tolerate is the use of public funds to finance camps and massive events of private groups. The comptroller herself has said that is illegal.”
Puerto Rico Comptroller Yesmín Valdivieso indeed decried Cruz’s actions Tuesday, saying during a radio interview that, “the position of the [Puerto Rico Comptroller’s] office is no. It cannot be done. It shouldn’t and cannot be done. Public funds exist to help residents of a municipality, residents of Puerto Rico.”
Navarro Suárez added that, “enough necessities involving cleanup, fumigation transportation and general maintenance exist in San Juan, particularly in the rural areas of Caimito and others that I represent, to go ahead and use what little resources the municipality has available to finance protests. It is totally disrespectful to the residents of San Juan.”
The NPP legislator also denied that a measure that the San Juan municipal legislature passed April 8, dubbed Resolution 81, authorizes such a use of public funds. In earlier remarks, Cruz had said that the municipal legislature completely endorses the use of municipal funds to support protests and similar activities.
“The resolution limits the use of municipal resources to actions aimed at appearing before the United Nations Decolonization Committee or the U.S. Congress in repudiation of the fiscal control board. There’s no section in the resolution that authorizes the use of public funds for private ends, and much less to finance protests,” Navarro Suárez noted.