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PIP Initiates Information Campaign In Public Schools…NPP Asks Full Immunity For Arizmendi…Local Dems To Undergo Changes…Fortuño Denies NPP Gubernatorial Candidacy Bid…SEC: Nuno Lopez Post Belongs To NPP

PIP Initiates Information Campaign In Public Schools

January 22, 2003
Copyright © 2003 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — Members of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) gathered early Wednesday morning in front of several high schools to distribute information on the federal law known as "No Child Left Behind."

PIP Rep. Victor Garcia San Inocencio, who was in front of Ramon Vila Mayo High School in Rio Piedras, denied that the action was politically motivated. He explained that it was an educational campaign against war.

"This is an educational campaign about public schools students’ fundamental right to prevent the U.S. Armed Forces from bringing recruiters to your home or calling your children," Garcia San Inocencio said.

According to the law, military officials will have access to the names, addresses, and telephone numbers, among other information, about high school students, unless their parents express their opposition in writing.

The PIP campaign is aimed at getting parents to fill out a form prepared by the local Education Department in which they refuse to disclose the students’ personal information.

NPP Asks Full Immunity Be Granted To Arizmendi

By Proviana Colon Diaz of WOW News

January 20, 2003
Copyright © 2003 WOW NEWS. All rights reserved.

New Progressive Party (NPP) Electoral Commissioner Thomas Rivera Schatz ordered Justice Secretary Anabelle Rodriguez to grant full immunity to Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Rep. Alida Arizmendi, so that she can reveal what she knows about an alleged illegal scam to transfer funds during Gov. Sila Calderon gubernatorial campaign.

"I’m sure Rep. Alida Arizmendi knows all the illegal activities that were orchestrated by Gov. Sila Calderon," said Rivera Schatz.

Schatz again asked Rodriguez to quit her post, as she is not doing justice to the people of Puerto Rico, but is rather keeping an agenda to persecute NPP followers.

If this is not the case Rodriguez would grant full immunity to Arizmendi just as she did to Education Department contractor Jesus Emilio Rivera Class who is cooperating with local authorities in the case against former Education Secretary Victor Fajardo, Rivera Schatz said.

Rivera Schatz made his statements during a morning press conference at NPP headquarters in Santurce.

His statements come three days after the House Ethics Committee issued an order for investigation of Arizmendi on 34 charges including violations to the penal code, the internal revenue code and the government ethics office code.

On Saturday, Calderon requested Arizmendi’s resignation and ordered her to be relieved of all her posts.

House Speaker Carlos Vizcarrondo said during a radio interview on Monday that Arizmendi had asked to be removed from her post in the House until the investigation was over.

NPP members have argued that the investigation of Arizmendi started after she declined to accept a debt that appears in her campaign records.

That debt was the result of an ad on which the legislator appeared endorsing Calderon for the post.

Former PDP Sen. Maribel Rodriguez’s son opened a Pandora’s box during a Senate Ethics Committee investigation against his mother when he said he was given $10,000 in cash at the party headquarters to place an ad for Calderon.

Days after the allegations, which described it as an illegal scam were made public Calderon held a press conference at La Fortaleza with the legislators mentioned as having done the same as Rodriguez.

Calderon claimed that there was no scheme to violate the electoral law and that the ads were placed as part of a "integrated campaign."

There in La Fortaleza and in front of Calderon, Arizmendi affirmed that she was unaware of having paid for any debts in favor of the governor.

That is the alleged corruption scam to which Rivera Schatz is referring.

A couple of months after her statements the Government Ethics Office made a referral to the House Ethics Committee on a series of violations by Arizmendi.

Local Democratic Party To Undergo Changes

January 20, 2003
Copyright © 2003 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — The Democratic Party Puerto Rico chapter is in a process of reinventing itself not only as a party, but as an entity with power on a national level and the island will send 57 delegates to the Democratic National Convention in 2004.

That is why the six Democratic presidential candidates, Senator John Kerry (D-MA), John Edwards (D-NC), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), Congressman Richard Gephardt (D-MO), Gov. Howard Dean (D-VT) and Rev. Al Sharpton are focused on attracting the Puerto Rican vote, according to local Democratic Party President Eudaldo Baez Galib.

"We aren’t making any commitments for now. We are still listening," Baez said.

Fortuño Denies He Will Bid For NPP Gubernatorial Candidacy

January 20, 2003
Copyright © 2003 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

PONCE (AP) - On Sunday, Former Tourism Co. Executive Director Luis Fortuño denied he has any interest in running for governor for the New Progressive Party (NPP).

However, he said that should he ever change his mind, he would be open about it.

"I would say for what I am running, why I am running, and I would say who would be the people working with me, but that is not the case at this stage of my life," Fortuño said in a radio interview.

Fortuño reminded that it was the Mayors Federation which selected him as a possible candidate when former Gov. Pedro Rossello announced that he would not run for a third term in office.

The former government official said he believes NPP President Carlos Pesquera has the support of the party directorate.

SEC Decides Nuno Lopez Post Belongs To NPP

January 17, 2003
Copyright © 2003 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — The State Elections Commission (SEC) resolved in an executive extraordinary meeting Thursday that the vacant post at the Legislature left by former Rep. Jose Luis "Nuno" Lopez belongs to the New Progressive Party (NPP).

According to the SEC, the party would be in charge of convening a special election among the NPP party members of the San Juan Precinct I.

To reach that conclusion, the SEC considered that Lopez was elected for the NPP. Court decisions, the Electoral Law, and what is established by the Constitution were also considered, Popular Democratic Party Electoral Commissioner Carlos Lopez Feliciano said in published reports.

However, he said the resolution will establish that the decision is subject to what can be resolved in court, if the post is finally vacant or not.

A local court declared Thursday that Lopez’s decision to withdraw his resignation was too late, which was why he was ousted from the House of Representatives.

Lopez said he will appeal the decision.

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