PDP crisis drowns out call for special legislative sessions
SAN JUAN – The crisis the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) is going through has drowned out the special sessions Gov. Alejandro García Padilla had proposed for August.
The purpose for these, the governor said in early August, was to address unresolved measures, for which a session would have been convened before the general elections on Nov. 8 and another one after that date.
However, the matter has been forgotten amid the party’s situation, which even led to House President Jaime Perelló’s resignation, as requested by PDP President and gubernatorial candidate David Bernier, amid the government corruption trial that involves convicted businessman Anaudi Hernández, a former party fundraiser.
Subsequently, as part of the trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, Inter News Service (INS) revealed actions by Perelló that threatened his presidency in the House of Representative, where he awarded Hernández a $300,000 contract.
The businessman’s company, 3Comm, was hired to install a switchboard in the lower chamber, which didn’t work for more than a year, even though each month it received a payment of more than $13,000.
The matter pushed Bernier to demand Perelló’s resignation as House president.
In the middle of the turmoil that prompted Perelló’s departure, as of Hernández’s testimony in federal court, his ties to other legislators were evinced, including to influential Sen. Mari Tere González.
“It’s very difficult for Gov. García Padilla to call special sessions in the legislature, because right now there is a lack of unity that doesn’t benefit measure approvals,” an INS source close to the party said informally.
In addition, the source said, a special session before the elections would provide a magnificent scenario for the New Progressive Party (NPP) “to use it against this administration and the legislators themselves.
“The reality is that Anaudi has dragged the PDP into a situation
that makes it excessively vulnerable in any legislative debate,
while Bernier tries…to reassemble the pieces.”
Next week, the source added, “will be decisive in a series of measures that the PDP president must take,” who as a result of the party’s crisis lost his campaign director, Liza Ortiz Camacho, who resigned following being mentioned in the scandalous trial.
Bernier explained to INS he proposes to accelerate some of the adjustments planned ahead of the elections.
The problem he faces is that within the party there are two currents in a decisive battle that may flourish in any given moment, despite Bernier and his collaborators’ efforts to save the PDP.
The gubernatorial candidate has the support of mayors and presidents of the party’s municipal committees, who finally tipped the scale in his favor in the face of Perelló’s resistance to resign from the House presidency.