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Senate Committee Summons Rossello, Legislative Conference Pledges To OK Clean Money Act,Calderon’s Proposal To Battle Island Poverty Stirs Controversy, Pesquera Defends Rossello, Repudiates Misla’s Alleged Conduct

Senate Committee Summons Former Gov. Pedro Rossello

August 22nd, 2002.  

SAN JUAN (AP) — The Senate Judicial Committee issued a summons to former Gov. Pedro Rossello to appear before its members to present the evidence of his allegations that the current administration is conspiring with some U.S. District officials and the Ferre Rangel Group and its dailies to persecute the statehood movement on the island.

The committee chairman Eudaldo Baez Galib announced on Thursday that the former governor has been offered several options to appear before the committee, in an executive hearing, a public hearing or before members of the committee in Washington D.C. if he cannot travel to the island.

Immediately, New Progressive Party Electoral Commissioner Thomas Rivera Schatz described Baez Galib as a clown and declared the action was inadmissible.

Baez Galib, for his part said he gave the former governor the option to choose a date before Sept. 14 to appear before the committee.

The summons was handed to NPP Minority Leader Sen. Kenneth McClintock, who must answer no later than 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

McClintock rejected acting as a messenger and said he would not participate in this PDP trick.

Baez Galib told The Associated Press that if true Rossello’s denouncement "would be one of the biggest scandals in the island’s history." The PDP legislator said it would be worse than the federal and local practice of keeping political dossiers.

Gov. Sila M. Calderon refused to give any opinion on the matter.

Legislative Conference Pledges To Approve Clean Money Act

August 22nd, 2002.  

SAN JUAN (AP) — After a meeting of the Legislative Conference at La Fortaleza, the Popular Democratic Party legislators pledged that by December they would approve some of the bills presented by Gov. Sila Calderon regarding the electoral campaign financing, particularly the one creating the Clean Money Act.

House Speaker Carlos Vizcarrondo, said the priority at this ordinary session would be approving the administration’s bills regarding the allocation of one billion to be invested in the special communities project through a trusteeship.

The bill for the creation of a trusteeship will be addressed by the Senate and then by the House, Vizcarrondo said.

Calderon sent the bills regarding the allocation for the special communities on Tuesday.

Calderon’s Proposal To Battle Island Poverty Stirs Controversy

By Matthew Hay Brown | San Juan Bureau

Copyright © 2002, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

August 21, 2002

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Gov. Sila M. Calderón's $1 billion plan to fight poverty found support among the poor, but critics questioned whether the money could build all the homes and provide all the jobs she claims.

In a much-anticipated address, Calderón decried the existence of "two Puerto Ricos" -- one comfortable, the other impoverished -- and unveiled a five-year plan this week that she said would build 20,000 homes, create 32,000 jobs and extend drinking water and electricity to hundreds of thousands of families.

"What I propose is the human work of a government determined to promote the happiness of those who have suffered for a long time," Calderón told legislators. "It is the opportunity to convert the two Puerto Ricos finally into one, a Puerto Rico of equality and ample opportunity for all."

Nearly half of the island's 3.8 million residents live in poverty, according to U.S. Census figures. In addition to building homes and extending utilities, Calderón's plan would provide inoculations for children, after-school programs for children and literacy classes for adults.

"This investment is, more than anything, an investment to stimulate good human coexistence," Calderón said.

But in a sign of the legislative battle to come, the Popular Democratic Party leader delivered her comments Monday night to a Legislature left nearly half empty by a boycott by the New Progressive Party.

"Sila Calderón has done nothing for Puerto Rico," New Progressive Party President Carlos Pesquera said. "We have seen her giving messages before the Legislature at a cost of thousands of dollars from public funds and promising action on different items that in the end result in nothing, owing to her incapacity to govern."

In one San Juan neighborhood Tuesday, Calderon's plan sparked hope.

"I would like to get out of here because there is no space to do anything," said Lydia Piñero, a 62-year-old resident of Las Parcelas Falú, identified by the government as a "special community" targeted for aid.

"I want a more comfortable site, with a little house where I can put my hens, because right now I have to keep them on my patio."

Among politicians, reaction to the plan divided along party lines. Dorado Mayor Carlos López, a member of Calderon's Popular Democratic Party, called it a "social revolution" similar to the rapid development of the island led in the 1940s and '50s by the towering Gov. Luis Muñoz Marín.

By way of expressing his support, Puerto Rican Independence Party Sen. Fernando Martín said the plan seemed to have been taken from the pages of the Independentistas' program. Senate President Antonio Fas Alzamora, a Popular Democract, said the Senate is ready to pass all parts of Calderón's proposal.

But New Progressive Party legislators called the plan deceptive.

Senate Minority Leader Kenneth McClintock said the program would build fewer homes than Calderón claimed. House Minority Leader Aníbal Vega Borges said it would not create so many jobs. And Sen. Norma Burgos said the Government Development Bank did not have the money needed to finance it.

Pesquera Defends Rossello, But Says Perception Is Wrong

By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News

AUGUST 21, 2002

New Progressive Party (NPP) President Carlos Pesquera said the radio interview that former Gov. Pedro Rossello granted to clarify the many doubts that has overshadowed his administration was a step in the right direction. However, he said he disagreed with Rossello’s perception about the leadership of his party.

"Due to [geographical] distance, he doesn’t know everything that’s going on in the party. And if that means he is mistaken, then he is mistaken," Pesquera said during a press conference Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Rossello had said that the leadership of the NPP has been shy in its efforts to keep a watchful eye on the government and to denounce the abuse that the Calderon administration has allegedly perpetrated against members of his party.

Pesquera said he totally rejected that perception, adding that mayors, legislators and many other members of his party had used the NPP headquarters to criticize Calderon’s shortcomings and to defend the party from its detractors.

"There are many reasons why Rossello should feel angry about the persecution carried out by this administration. I understand the indignation of Pedro Rossello…but I cannot allow anyone to doubt our efforts," Pesquera said.

The former governor has been living in Virginia and commuting to work in Washington D.C. ever since he left office after the 2000 election, when Pesquera lost the gubernatorial race to now Gov. Sila Calderon.

Rossello said he chose to leave the island precisely because he wanted to stay out of the political arena in Puerto Rico.

However, the series of corruption scandals that have befallen on members of his administration, including his personal aide Maria de los Angeles Rivera and former Deputy Chief of Staff Angel Ocasio, have put him once against on the spot.

The NPP president added that the former governor is not the only one who feels persecuted and wronged, as many NPP affiliates feel the same way every day.

In a more conciliatory manner, Pesquera told the press that his statements were not to be misinterpreted and that the last thing he wanted was for his words to be turned into an issue between the two of them.

"If there is anyone who defends the work of Rossello, that would be me. Pedro Rossello has plenty to contribute to the NPP. We will receive him with open arms," Pesquera concluded.

Pesquera Repudiates Misla’s Alleged Conduct

August 16th, 2002.  

SAN JUAN (AP) — New Progressive Party (NPP) President Carlos I. Pesquera repudiated the conduct of former House Speaker has allegedly maintained for years.

Pesquera said that as a father and as the NPP president he condemns the conduct for which Misla Aldarondo was accused on Thursday.

"There is no jail sentence or punishment that can ease the pain that actions such as these one provoke in the Puerto Rican family. These acts have to be repudiated by society, without regard to who has committed them," said the NPP leader in a press release.

Judge Ada Rosa Juarbe found cause to arrest the former legislator on charges of rape; two violations to Article 163 of the Penal Code, for sexual perversion of a minor; and two charges of violating Article 405 of the Penal Code, regarding the use of controlled substances.

Justice Secretary Anabelle Rodriguez recommended the designation of a Special Independent Prosecutor (SIP) for Misla Aldarondo, whose stepdaughter declared she has been the victim of lascivious acts since she was nine.

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