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Governor Appoints Committee To Evaluate Mercado's Report... Ramos Accused of Buying Personal Checks, Ethics Committee To Subpoena His Former Wife... Rodriguez To Head Rossello Platform Committee... Mayaguez Cathedral Is Reopened

By WOW News Staff

December 31, 2003
Copyright © 2003 WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

Gov. Sila Calderon created a committee of three renowned judicial figures to evaluate and issue their opinion of the report that Justice Secretary Anabelle Rodríguez has requested about the 1975 fatal car accident in which former Secretary of State Ferdinand Mercado was allegedly involved.

The governor who ordered Rodriguez, Solicitor General Pedro Geronimo Goyco, and Police Superintendent Victor Rivera on Dec. 20 to conduct the investigation of the case.

The committee is comprised of former prosecutor Noel Colon Martinez, former federal assistant prosecutor Ignacio Rivera, and former appellate judge Angel Hermida.

The members of the committee will be in charge of receiving the report of the investigation to evaluate it and comment on its contents.

"Because this is matter of public importance for our country, I want this group of citizens to include their recommendation of the findings and conclusions of the Justice Secretary to preserve the purity of the proceedings," the governor said.

Rivera, 61, has been an agent for the CIA, a federal assistant prosecutor for five years, and an attorney for General Electric and Pueblo Supermarket. Since 1992 he has been dedicated to his private practice specializing in criminal justice.

Ethics Committee To Subpoena Ramos’ Former Wife

December 31, 2003
Copyright © 2003 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) – The House Ethics Committee has decided to subpoena the former wife of New Progressive Party (NPP) Rep. Oscar Ramos to testify in the hearings that are being conducted against the pro-statehood legislator. According to published reports, former wife Evelyn Guzman has been subpoenaed for Jan. 8.

Meanwhile, Committee Chairman Jose Luis Colon said the inconsistencies in the report that Ramos filed to the Government Ethics Office and the document regarding the selling price of an apartment Ramos allegedly sold at a loss to his son without making profit may be grounds for perjury.

The former executive director of the State Insurance Fund Corporation also faces allegations that he violated the Ethics Law by using Smith Barney’s services for personal use while he granted government contracts to that brokerage company.

Ramos Accused of Buying Personal Checks

December 31, 2003
Copyright © 2003 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — A woman who identified herself as a personal secretary of New Progressive Party Rep. Oscar Ramos said Tuesday that he had assigned her the task of changing his personal checks while he worked as State Insurance Fund Executive Director.

In his testimony Edith Latorre said that back in 1998 Ramos took out of his pocket $8,000 in cash and asked her to buy a manager’s check from Banco Popular.

One day later Ramos gave her another $3,500 to buy another manager’s check, Latorre said.

Although Latorre has a juris doctor, she alleges that the transactions did not seem suspicious to her.

"The thought did not cross my mind, It did not seem strange to me," Latorre said in public hearings before the House Ethics Committee investigating an alleged illegal donation to Ramos from convicted developer Jose Ventura Asilis.

Latorre added that in addition to buying manager’s checks for Ramos she would pay for his utilities and described the relationship between her and the legislator as a "casual" one.

Rodriguez To Head Rossello Platform Committee

December 31, 2003
Copyright © 2003 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — Former senate president Charlie Rodriguez will head former Gov. Pedro Rossello’s committee platform for 2004.

Rodriguez has to be confirmed by the New Progressive Party directors for the post but there is no doubt he will be confirmed.

Rodriguez, who was defeated in the primary race for the resident commissioner post, said 40 working groups have already been formed to draft platform proposals.

All the information received will be discussed in public hearings that will be carried out in eight senatorial districts.

"This process will be held in areas where everyone who wishes to contribute to the platform can do so," Rodriguez said.

Key areas of the platform will be economic development and social development, he said.

Mayaguez Cathedral Is Reopened To Press

December 31, 2003
Copyright © 2003 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

MAYAGÜEZ (AP) — The press got a glimpse into the remodeled inside of the Mayaguez Catholic Cathedral, Virgen de la Candelaria, which has been under renovation for the past two years at a cost of $3.5 million.

The Church will officially open it’s doors to the people on Tuesday when a representative from the Vatican as well as local leaders of the Catholic church will participate in the opening mass.

Monsignor Hector Rivera said the restoration of the church, built between 1833 and 1847, began on August 2001 and should have been completed by December 2002 but the ceiling was much more deteriorated than expected.

The finding of crypts with human remains and the archeological value of such findings also delayed the renovation projects, Rivera said.

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