Monday, November 29, 2021

Puerto Rico Reps. Natal, Vega Ramos Out of Minority House Caucus

By on April 25, 2017

SAN JUAN – Reps. Manuel Natal Albelo and Luis Vega Ramos have been excluded from the lower chamber’s Popular Democratic Party (PDP) delegation after they didn’t attend its meeting Tuesday morning.

PDP House Minority Leader Rafael "Tatito" Hernández, left, said Natal and Vega Ramos's absence to a caucus meeting Tuesday means they have abandoned the group. (Courtesy)

PDP House Minority Leader Rafael “Tatito” Hernández, left, said Natal and Vega Ramos’s absence to a caucus meeting Tuesday means they have abandoned the group. (Courtesy)

Minority Speaker Rafael “Tatito” Hernández explained in a press conference that the party’s delegation hasn’t expelled them and that the matter isn’t an “ideological issue,” but that “they abandoned the caucus” and didn’t attend the scheduled meeting. Hernández gave them 24 hours to clarify the dispute in the caucus, while PDP President Héctor Ferrer gave the entire delegation a 48-hour period to resolve their conflict, which expired Tuesday.

Hernández added that among the representatives who made the determination in the caucus were Jesús Santa, Carlos Bianchi, and Javier Aponte Dalmau, all of whom identify as soberanistas, or pro-sovereignty.

“The caucus has concluded with Luis Vega and Manuel Natal absent; this delegation understands that they are abandoning the caucus of the PDP House delegation… The caucus unanimity rules must always be followed, not only when they benefit a position,” Hernández declared.

PDP House delegation dispute intensifies

Even though Natal Albelo and Vega Ramos requested a public apology from the minority speaker over his criticism of PDP Rep. Luis Raúl Torres, who left the caucus some weeks ago, Hernández insisted that the forum to clarify the dispute was the caucus.

“There are other forums. If the [PDP] president will make other determinations, he must be given room to inform them and communicate with officials. Out of deference to the president, he will be given room. Our responsibility was to assume a strong position, with discipline, within the period, address the situation in 48 hours and inform it,” the minority speaker said.

Hernández said that, in the past, the caucus of the PDP delegation in the House assumed positions to defend Natal Albelo, even though not all were in agreement with his.

“When one gives one’s word and when we are statesmen and stateswomen who establish agreements, one has to honor them whether in you favor or of others,” he said.

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