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De Castro Font Files Two Complaints Against Fernos

Ramirez de Ferrer: A Victim Of Persecution

NPP Legislators To Denounce Calderon’s Anti-Americanism

PDP Senator Proposes Governor’s Pardon For Pesquera

Legislators Referred To SIP React With Surprise

Justice Recommends SIP To Investigate Five NPP Legislators

De Castro Font Files Two Complaints Against Fernos

July 2, 2002
Copyright © 2002 AP. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — As leaders of the New Progressive Party waited to be booked by police on Tuesday on charges of rioting for their actions at the Women’s Advocate Office, independent legislator Jorge de Castro Font filed complaints before the Government Ethics Office (GEO) and the Justice Department seeking the removal of Women’s Advocate Maria Dolores Fernos.

De Castro Font, a self described pro-statehood supporter who is yet to join the New Progressive Party, argued that Fernos is "a violator of the law" because she failed to obey Gov. Sila Calderon’s order to place the American flag alongside the Puerto Rican flag in her office, and in doing so also violated the State Department rules.

"Without any doubt Maria Dolores Fernos failed to obey the laws of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico when she violated the regulations of the State Department regarding the flags that should be displayed in all Commonwealth’s facilities," said De Castro Font.

Furthermore, he noted that although Fernos’ post is autonomous and has a ten year duration it does not mean that she can’t be fired from her post as the law that created her office states that she could be dismissed if she does not obey orders from the executive branch.

Therefore, he urged Calderon to make use of her power to dismiss and proceed to remove Fernos.

"I urged Gov. Sila Calderon to immediately remove this officer who divided the people of Puerto Rico and presents a poor image of what a public service office is," De Castro Font said.

Ousted from the Popular Democratic Party for his constant criticism of the party positions, De Castro has since tried to ally himself with the NPP.

Although he does not approve of the way in which Pesquera placed the flag, he said on Tuesday, that Fernos is the real violator of the law because she failed to place the American Flag alongside the Puerto Rican flag as that law states.

Ramirez de Ferrer: A Victim Of Persecution

By Proviana Colon Diaz

July 1, 2002
Copyright © 2002 WOW News. All rights reserved.

The consequences of the actions by the New Progressive Party leaders to place an American Flag alongside a Puerto Rican flag at the Women Advocate Office seem to never end.

While the prosecution still debates whether it will appeal the charges that were dropped by a San Juan Superior Court judge, other possible defendants stop at no avail to portray themselves as victims of a persecution.

The most recent of such claims came on Monday from NPP Sen. Miriam Ramirez de Ferrer who issued a letter to the White House requesting them "to stop looking for terrorists in Afghanistan, and start looking in their own Caribbean territory."

Ramirez de Ferrer, an avid defender of statehood who initiated the so call war of the flags, is by far one of the most controversial legislators of the island. A senior citizen in age but a rookie to the Legislature, Ramirez de Ferrer has been criticized for being more interested in gaining any attention in the United States instead of doing her legislative work, as her legislative record shows.

Arguing that she is a minority, Ramirez de Ferrer acknowledged to Associated Press that only one piece of her legislation has reached the floor since she was sworn in as senator on January 2001.

Her Monday request to the White House, forgetting that one of the pilots of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack had been detained in Puerto Rico, but Federal Authorities let him go, was again controversial and caused the outcry of Gov. Sila Calderon.

"Any person who tells any other country, including the United States, to look for terrorist in Puerto Rico and not in Afghanistan is projecting what that person is and not what the people of Puerto Rico stand for, we are peaceful people," Calderon said.

The governor criticized NPP representatives Albita Rivera and Melinda Romero decision to visit Washington D.C. this week in an attempt to bring their side of the story at to what occurred at the Women Advocate Office on June 20.

Calderon however, predicted their efforts would be to no avail as "US Congress is on recess during this week."

Meanwhile, the governor declined to issue an opinion as to whether the prosecution should appeal the judge decision not to find cause for arrest on charges of aggression and destruction of public property among others to the NPP leaders.

Arguing that she respects the court and the judicial process she insisted in her regret for the incident that took place at the Women Advocate Office.

"Everyone saw what happen in Puerto Rico. I would have given anything, as would have all Puerto Ricans to prevent this from happening, but it happen and everyone has to be responsible for their actions," Calderon said.

NPP Legislators To Denounce Calderon’s Anti-Americanism

July 1, 2002
Copyright © 2002 AP. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — New Progressive Party (NPP) Reps. Melinda Romero and Albita Rivera will travel to Washington D.C. and New York this week to denounce Gov. Sila Calderon’s alleged anti-American ways.

The NPP legislators–who intend to visit several U.S. Congress members, civil rights offices, federal agencies, and the media–said they will depart to the U.S. mainland following the Fourth of July celebration.

"The United States must know the true Sila Calderon and the actions that her government has taken to threaten the current relationship between Puerto Rico and the U.S.," Romero said.

The representative added that she will carry recorded expressions of the governor to prove her alleged anti-American point of views.

Meanwhile, Rivera noted the riot that took place at the Women’s Advocate Office, when NPP President Carlos Pesquera was denied access to the agency’s lobby to hoist a U.S. flag.

Rivera said she would show members of the Congress what she believes is the fabrication of criminal charges against Pesquera and other NPP members.

The two legislators said they will cover their travel expenses with private funds and are due back on the island on July 10.

PDP Senator Proposes Governor’s Pardon For Pesquera

June 30, 2002
Copyright © 2002 AP. All rights reserved.

PONCE (AP) — Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Sen. Jose Ortiz Daliot proposed on Sunday that Gov. Sila Calderon pardon New Progressive Party (NPP) President Carlos Pesquera if he is convicted of rioting.

Ortiz Daliot said a governor’s pardon would put an end to the controversy, allowing Pesquera to run for governor in 2004.

"The felony for which Pesquera has been accused is serious and if convicted, it would impede him to run for governor," said Ortiz Daliot during a radio interview on Sunday.

"It is time to end all these incidents because what is really happening here is that a gubernatorial candidate lacking in leadership is getting tons of publicity," said Ortiz Daliot.

Pesquera was accused of rioting for the violent incident that occurred at the Women’s Advocate Office on June 20.

The NPP president has said he is innocent and that he will be acquitted.

Ortiz Daliot said it is better for the PDP to have Pesquera run against Calderon in 2004, as he believes Pesquera has no chance of winning.

Legislators Referred To SIP React With Surprise

By WOW News staff

June 29, 2002
Copyright © 2002 WOW News. All rights reserved.

After finding out about the Justice Department’s decision to recommend a Special Independent Prosecutor (SIP) for the legislators present at the Women’s Advocate Office incident last week, the representatives and the senator who will be investigated said they were surprised but at ease.

Recently appointed New Progressive Party (NPP) Rep. Jeniffer Gonzalez affirmed that she was calm and firm in her stand that she did what she had to do.

"My conscience is very clear, and I have confidence in God," said Gonzalez.

NPP Rep. Jose ‘Nuno’ Lopez said he was surprised by the referral but affirmed that he was prepared to begin working on his defense.

"We are surprised, but this is more of the same. I have no other concern than to find the legal advise necessary and wait," Lopez said.

From the Judicial Center where she waited for the hearing process against the five NPP leaders to end, Sen. Miriam Ramirez de Ferrer, another of the legislators who according to the Justice Department might have incited the riot, denied the accusation.

"I have never participated in any riot," affirmed Ramirez de Ferrer.

Rep. Jose Aponte Hernandez said the Justice Secretary Anabelle Rodriguez "basically adjudicated" the case with her expressions.

Aponte Hernandez, who resulted with a cut on his cheek in the middle of the melee, said he was the one who presented a complaint for the aggression the same day of the incident.

Meanwhile, Rep. Iris Miriam Ruiz issued a press release in which she states that this is part of a political trick from the Popular Democratic Party.

"This is a well written script for persecution. But the ones responsible for this will have to pay for this outrage," Ruiz said.

Justice Recommends SIP To Investigate Five NPP Legislators

By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News

June 28, 2002
Copyright © 2002 WOW News. All rights reserved.

Justice Secretary Anabelle Rodriguez recommended that the panel of former judges of the Special Independent Prosecutor’s Office appoint a Special Independent Prosecutor (SIP) to investigate the actions of five New Progressive Party (NPP) legislators who participated in the riot unleashed at the Women’s Advocate Office last Thursday.

Rodriguez said following the department’s preliminary investigation on the matter, there was sufficient evidence to establish that NPP Sen. Miriam Ramirez de Ferrer, as well as NPP Reps. Jennifer Gonzalez Colon, Iris Miriam Ruiz, Jose Lopez, and Jose Aponte Hernandez, had engaged in illegal conduct that include rioting and aggravated assault.

The Justice chief said there was evidence that Aponte Hernandez had punched one of the employees of the Women’s Advocate Office.

On June 20, a riot took place in front of that government agency after a group of NPP legislators and other party members accompanied NPP President Carlos Pesquera to hoist a U.S. flag in the building’s lobby and were forbidden to go in.

Rodriguez made the announcement after warning the press that she would refrain from commenting on the details of an issue that is being heard in court against Pesquera, NPP Electoral Commissioner Tomas Rivera Schatz, former House Vice President Edwin Mundo, and private citizen Peter Muller.

However, she did use the opportunity to congratulate the employees of her department on the handling of this issue.

"I am proud of all the Justice employees who have worked on the matter. They have worked in a selfless, professional, and ethical manner. The people of Puerto Rico saw those videos, the people of Puerto Rico know what happened, the people of Puerto Rico can trust that this department acted in the way it had to act," Rodriguez said.

She also denied that subpoenaing members of the local press to serve as witnesses in a Justice investigation and to require them to hand in their tapes, notes, and other journalistic documents as part of their evidence would constitute a precedence that could later give room for the government to interfere with the press’ duties.

"I don’t see how complying with the law could be a problem," Rodriguez said.

On another note, given the fact that other investigations performed by the department against similar violent acts from anti-U.S. Navy demonstrators in Vieques have not ended in any convictions, Rodriguez refused to say if she thought the current investigation against the NPP leaders could have a different fate.

"I can promise the people of Puerto Rico that all the cases were filed because at the moment we have the evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that those felonies were committed, but it is something for the court to decide," Rodriguez said.

Also on Friday, Pesquera, Rivera Schatz, Mundo, and Muller were charged with 10 felonies, including aggravated assault, rioting, and damaging public property.

The five NPP legislators weren’t given citations because they are public officials, and according to the law, a different procedure should be followed if charges were to be filed against them, the Justice secretary concluded.

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