Substitute for Sen. Mari Tere González also nominated to judiciary
SAN JUAN – Senate Chief of Staff Gina Méndez Miró isn’t the only person Gov. Alejandro García Padilla requested be nominated to the judiciary – as the appeal court – be appointed during this special session.
In a third amendment to the session, the governor requested that Rep. Efraín de Jesús be named superior court judge. In September, De Jesús was appointed as substitute for Sen. Mari Tere González in her seat representing district 19 of Mayagüez and Aguadilla. De Jesús wasn’t elected in the past elections.
Also at the Senate session, which began just over an hour late, it was announced that the governor requested the withdrawal of the appointments of Gilberto Gierbolini and William Vázquez. Vázquez, who worked in the Justice Department during the administration of former Gov. Sila María Calderón, requested her designation be withdrawn.
Meanwhile, Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Senate Majority Leader Aníbal José Torres, requested the reconsideration of House Bill 2924, which includes amendments to the Teachers Retirement System Act.
He called on the floor that the amendments be left without effect, despite having already been approved by the House in its session Friday, when it adjourned the special session convened by García Padilla sine die, which could have been extended until Dec. 6.
The upper chamber is expected to make way for the appointments that remain to be evaluated. Senate President Eduardo Bhatia said a number of significant measures woin´t be addressed as requested by the governor because the House has already concluded its work. He said that “about 75%” of the 113 measures the governor had called for had been addressed.
The possibility that a second special session will be convened in the next few days is still on the table.
Call for release of Oscar López
During the special session, Bhatia requested an initial turn to insist on the release of Oscar López Rivera, who has been in prison for more than 30 years.
The Senate president urged citizens to help with the 100,000 signatures needed in a petition to President Barack Obama to consider López Rivera’s release before ending his administration later this year.
“I am going to do whatever is required [for the release of López Rivera]…. We are 9,000 signatures away from reaching 100,000 signatures. The faster the 100,000 signatures are reached, the quicker they have to answer,” the Senate leader said.
Sen. Miguel Pereira joined the request during his initial turn. The legislator compared López Rivera’s situation with U.S. Sen. John McCain’s, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam and rejected his release until his fellow soldiers were also released. López Rivera had a similar opportunity during Bill Clinton’s, but rejected it for a similar reason.
López Rivera remains convicted on charges of seditious conspiracy.
During the session, only Bhatia, Pereira, Torres, Puerto Rican Independence Party Sen. María de Lourdes Santiago, and New Progressive Party (NPP) Sen. Ángel “Chayanne” Martínez were present. Later, NPP Sen. Larry Seilhamer arrived.