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Pesquera: Don’t Judge NPP By Fajardo, Island Included In U.S. Quarter Program, De La Hoya Wants Trinidad, Mundo Seated Following Federal Judge’s Order, Prosecution Demands TV Tapes Of Flag Incident, Released, Rabin Vows To Return

Pesquera: Don’t Judge NPP On Fajardo’s Testimony

October 9, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — New Progressive Party (NPP) President Carlos Pesquera said Wednesday that the NPP should not be judged on the testimony of former Education Secretary Victor Fajardo, who was jailed Tuesday for perjury.

"Victor Fajardo is not only a confessed corrupt person but a proved liar who has been disposed to harm a party just to get fewer years in jail," Pesquera said.

He also expressed his satisfaction with the fact that the prosecution had to admit Fajardo was lying.

"Just several days ago we denounced that Victor Fajardo was a disaster, not only for the NPP but for Puerto Rico; now we see how the federal prosecutor had no other option than to accept it yesterday [Tuesday]," Pesquera added.

According to Pesquera, the testimony of Fajardo, who pleaded guilty of government corruption, lacked veracity.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Hector Laffitte ordered Tuesday that Fajardo be sent immediately to prison for perjury in the case against three co-accused who were charged with allegedly participating in a million-dollar fraud scheme in the Education Department.

The judge accepted a motion from U.S. Attorney Guillermo Gil Bonar and dismissed the charges against Fajardo’s former aide Maria Teresa (Maritere) Perez Huertas, contractor Norman Olson, attorney Roberto Bonano, and seven other agency contractors who were awaiting trial.

Puerto Rico Included In Commemorative Quarters Program

October 9, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — The U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution to include Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the U.S. Mariana Islands, and the District of Columbia in the commemorative quarters program that started in 2000.

Local authorities should select the design of the coin that will be issued in 2009, according to published reports.

The resolution was approved after two years of scrutiny.

The commemorative quarters program consists of the gradual minting and issuing of a coin for each of the 50 U.S. states, beginning with Delaware and ending with Hawaii and Alaska in 2008.

De La Hoya Plans To Woo Trinidad

October 9, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Oscar de la Hoya said Tuesday he plans to spend the next two weeks in Puerto Rico trying to talk Felix Trinidad out of retirement.

It could be a tough sell.

Trinidad, a former three-time champion, stunned his fans in July by announcing his retirement. He said in September the decision is permanent.

De La Hoya, who beat Fernando Vargas in a 154-pound match last month, said he wants a rematch with Trinidad, who beat him in 1999.

``I'm going to take Felix to dinner and try and talk him into coming out of retirement,'' said De La Hoya, adding that Trinidad lives ``just a 5-wood away'' from him in San Juan.

Asked about his chances of persuading Trinidad, De La Hoya said, ``I think they're very good if his father doesn't interfere. I really don't think his father wants him to fight me again.''

De La Hoya said nothing is definite, but his next fight could happen in early May. Asked about a rematch with Shane Mosley, De La Hoya said, ``That's not firm, either. Number one on my wish list is Felix.''

De La Hoya lives part of the year in San Juan since marrying Puerto Rican singer Millie Corretjer.

Mundo Is Sworn In

October 8, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Following a long debate, House Secretary Nestor Duprey Salgado swore recently elected New Progressive Party (NPP) Rep. Edwin Mundo in Tuesday, three hours past the deadline that U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Dominguez set in the court order that he issued Monday night.

"The court's decision has set an example. I invite the House majority to work for the good of the people of Puerto Rico and to stop trampling over the minorities," Mundo said after he was sworn-in.

NPP President Carlos Pesquera, who was present at the event, congratulated the newly sworn-in legislator. He also used the opportunity to lash out at the administration of Gov. Sila Calderon for delaying the process in which Mundo could assume his duties as a representative.

"The Calderon administration has tried to step on the minority party in Puerto Rico. We've made history. We've conveyed a clear message that the NPP won't be trampled over," Pesquera stated.

The House of Representatives voted 27-17 in favor of a report in which the special committee created to evaluate the legal capacity of Mundo recommended that the NPP elected candidate be sworn in.

Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Rep. Charlie Hernandez, who presided over the special committee, said earlier that committee members didn't find any judicial basis that could impede Mundo from being sworn-in.

Hernandez criticized the intervention of the federal court, especially when they had noted that they would most likely make a decision Tuesday.

"I regret the improper and disrespectful intervention of the courts of justice," said Hernandez, who added that the federal court had no jurisdiction in the legislative procedures.

Hernandez added that the committee's decision was drafted at 9 p.m. Monday, prior to the issuing of the court order. When questioned by press members, Hernandez insisted that the order had no bearing in the timing of the committee's decision. The court order was issued past 11 p.m. Monday.

House Speaker Carlos Vizcarrondo also lambasted the court order.

"The decision infringes the separation of powers that rules our democratic system. It leaves the House in a state of judicial defenselessness to protect its internal procedures," said Vizcarrondo.

Meanwhile, one of Mundo's defense attorneys, former NPP Sen. Charlie Rodriguez, told the press that he has filed a motion at the federal court asking Dominguez to hold Vizcarrondo, Duprey Salgado, and House Sergeant Oscar San Antonio Mendoza, in contempt of court for not meeting the deadline for swearing-in Mundo.

Rodriguez said Mundo seeks payment for damages and punitive damages alleging that the House majority violated the rights of those who voted for Mundo in the special election to replace former NPP Rep. Angel Cintron.

Federal Judge Orders Mundo To Be Sworn In

October 8, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Dominguez ordered the House of Representatives to swear in recently elected New Progressive Party (NPP) Rep. Edwin Mundo, who presented interdicts at the federal and local courts claiming his right to occupy the post.

Earlier Monday, San Juan Superior Court Judge Carlos Davila assumed jurisdiction over the case and summoned the parties to appear before him Thursday at 10 a.m.

During the hearing, Davila ordered the House of Representatives to present evidence to support its refusal to swear Mundo in.

Mundo expressed his satisfaction with the court’s decision to assume jurisdiction.

Mundo was elected a week ago in an NPP special election to fill the post left vacant by former Rep. Angel Cintron.

However, the Popular Democratic Party majority in the House of Representatives denied his petition to be sworn in Friday based on the fact that the elected legislator faces charges for riot in the local court and is awaiting trial in November.

Prosecution Summons Television News Officials

October 8, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - The prosecution will summon news directors of local television stations to deliver unedited videos of the June 20 incident at the Women's Advocate Office.

The prosecution will give the directors until next Thursday to hand over the videos in the case against Carlos Pesquera, Edwin Mundo, Thomas Rivera Schatz, and Leonides Diaz, according to published reports.

The decision is based on previous determinations by the Superior Court and the Appeals Court.

Officials of the stations channels claimed that forcing them to hand over the unedited videos violates the constitutional right to freedom of the press.

In cases where the unedited video is no longer available, station representatives would have to provide a certification to that effect.

Rabin Released After Six Months

October 7, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - An activist jailed for six months for trespassing on a Navy bombing range in Vieques was released Monday, and said he would keep protesting the U.S. military presence on the Puerto Rican island.

Leaving the federal prison in San Juan, Robert Rabin said would enter the bombing range again to stop the Navy from dropping ordnance. The Navy has only dropped dummy bombs since 1999.

Jail "was a rich experience for my learning," Rabin said before returning to Vieques , where he has lived since 1980. "I was jailed for my fight in Vieques , and I leave even more committed to the fight in Vieques ."

President Bush has said the Navy will leave the bombing range by May 2003. Gov. Sila Calderon and several U.S. lawmakers want the president to put the promise in writing.

Rabin, born in Boston, runs an art gallery in Vieques and helped lead a group opposed to the U.S. presence on the island. The group was created in the 1970s and gained widespread support in Puerto Rico after two errant bombs killed a civilian guard on the range in 1999.

The movement won world attention when protesters invaded the range and camped there for a year.

Bombing opponents claim the exercises pose a health threat, which the Navy denies.

The Navy, which owns about a third of the island, has used the bombing range for about 60 years to train its Atlantic fleet.

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