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Puerto Rico rep sues governor over creation of disaster recovery office

By on November 2, 2017

SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico House Minority Leader Rafael “Tatito” Hernández filed a lawsuit against Gov. Ricardo Rosselló asking the court to declare an executive order that creates the Central Recovery and Reconstruction Office (OCRR by its Spanish initials) unconstitutional.

The Popular Democratic Party (PDP) representative explained that, in the lawsuit, he also requested a preliminary injunction to temporarily suspend the implementation of said order (EO-2017-65) until the dispute is resolved.

PDP House Minority Leader Rafael “Tatito” Hernández (File Photo)

“We cannot allow that in the midst of the Whitefish scandal the response of the executive is the creation of a dark room where the impunity of government corruption is hidden. After the shouted calls demanding transparency by local and international forums, it is a total contradiction that the new entity created by decree is unilaterally exempted by the Executive from the public policy of audits, rendering of accounts, and presenting reports,” Hernández stressed.

“This executive order basically adopts by unilateral mandate the bulk of the functions contemplated in the bills under legislative consideration, which was already defeated by unanimous vote in the Senate, and for which the House of Representatives will not make way. We cannot allow this to happen because this executive order ignores the power conferred in the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to the Legislative Assembly to create, define and suppress agencies in the executive branch,” the legislator said.

Gov. Rosselló defends new Puerto Rico Central Recovery & Reconstruction Office

Similarly, Hernández argues in his lawsuit that the mandate claims to be based on an article of Act 20 of April 10, 2017, that grants the governor certain extraordinary powers in cases of emergency or disaster situations; however, that law does not grant the governor the power to create an entity with so many powers to be directed by a single person and free of oversight.

“This lawsuit seeks to stop this affront to democracy by a governor who has assigned himself the absolute power to do and undo without being audited or have the transparency demanded by the people,” Hernández said, while assuring “there is clearly an intention of the executive branch to distribute contracts to acquaintances, using the emergency situation as an excuse.”

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