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Puerto Rico House speaker questions resigned gov’s ‘pending matters’

By on July 25, 2019

House Speaker Carlos “Johnny” Méndez (CyberNews)

Will go on with impeachment process until official resignation

SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico House Speaker Carlos “Johnny” Méndez said Thursday that he needs to know which are the pending matters that Gov. Ricardo Rosselló spoke about when he announced his resignation, which takes effect Aug. 2 at 5 p.m.

“That is what we intend to do. We want to know what those pending issues are, and which the interim governor or the governor who swears in, which in this case would be attorney Wanda Vázquez cannot attend. That is precisely what I want to know this morning because this matter must be ended now. We must settle it for the good of Puerto Rico, for social peace, for economic development we have to turn the page and move on,” Méndez said in a radio interview (WKAQ).

“The resignation must be of an irrevocable character. It is not a resignation that [the governor] can regret and…take it back. No. There has to be total certainty that the event is going to happen and also see what are the transition issues, which I presume must be the appointment of the secretary of state. That must be discussed. It has to be known,” he added.

He said the position of secretary of state is one of the few positions that need the consent of both the House and the Senate, so this transition process is urgent.

After 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, Rosselló Nevares announced that he had begun an orderly transition process that concludes Friday, Aug. 2, at 5 p.m. with his resignation. In a statement after the governor announced his resignation, Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez Garced said that “when the day comes, when his resignation goes into effect, if necessary, I will assume the historical mandate imposed by the Constitution.”

“That is what the Constitution says. I would have liked, and I suggested to the governor, to appoint a secretary of state with whom we could sit and talk…,” the Speaker Méndez said. “He did not. I have to live with what the Constitution says but I know that Wanda is a reasonable woman and we will have a continuous dialog to find a solution to this.”

The lower chamber’s president said the future of the impeachment process for which he convened a special session for Thursday, will be discussed with House Minority Leader Rafael “Tatito” Hernández and with the pro-independence party Rep. Denis Márquez.

Méndez also said the report by three jurists about the contents of the leaked chat group messages to determine whether these constitute conduct that merits impeachment, will be referred to a House commission that will be responsible for preparing another report to be referred to the “appropriate agencies,” despite a Justice Department probe already underway.

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