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NPP Vows To Defend Rossello’s Pension Until The End, Party Leaders Incensed By Reduction… Ramos 32nd NBA Pick… 2 New Parties Certified… Sanchez Heads To Federal Bench… Coliseum Sets September Opening… Anthony Named To U.S. Olympic Team… President Bush Honors Rita Moreno

NPP Vows To Defend Rossello’s Pension Until The End

By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News

June 24, 2004
Copyright © 2004
WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

After learning of the decision of Retirement System Administrator Marisol Marchand to revoke former governor Pedro Rossello’s $52,000 yearly pension, New Progressive Party (NPP) leaders on Thursday vowed to challenge the decision in court if they have to in order to protect the gubernatorial candidate’s civil rights.

"We don’t rule out any forum. We will defend his pension. We will defend his rights," said NPP Electoral Commissioner Thomas Rivera Schatz during a press conference at party headquarters where other high-ranking NPP leaders gathered to show support for Rossello.

Rivera Schatz said Rossello–who is on fundraising events in New York–was in good spirits when he learned of Marchand’s decision Wednesday night.

In her unsigned letter, Marchand said there was insufficient evidence to validate the certification of Rossello’s time served during the summers of 1962, 1963, and 1964 at the Psychiatric Hospital in Rio Piedras.

"After evaluating and studying the evidence in our power, we have resolved that the certification’s legitimacy cannot be sustained. Therefore, our preliminary ruling announced on May 28, 2004 stands," Marchand said in her letter.

Marchand gave Rossello 15 days to ask for a reconsideration and/or 30 days to contest the decision before the Administration’s Board of Trustees.

In a separate press, Marchand stated that the process to notify Rossello of her decision was done according to the law and agency rules.

With this decision, the agency has reduced from 30.25 to 29.25 years the time served by Rossello as a government employee. This means his yearly pension will be reduced from $52,000 to a little over $29,500 starting July 1.

Marchand also said Rossello will have to return more than $80,000 equaled to the amount he received in excess.

During the press conference, Rossello’s Campaign Committee President Juan R. Melecio took a turn to defend the gubernatorial candidate’s integrity and to reiterate the party’s theory that the governing Popular Democratic Party has an agenda against the NPP.

"If Rossello would have stayed on the U.S. mainland, we wouldn’t be going through any of this," said Melecio, who praised Rossello’s respectfulness towards him while he presided over the State Elections Commission.

Melecio called Marchand’s decision a threat to democracy and urged the Puerto Rican people to stand against anti-democratic actions. On that same thought, Rivera Schatz called on the people to reject the PDP government on the polls in the November general election.

Also present were San Juan Mayor Jorge Santini, NPP Secretary General Maria Milagros Charbonier, Campaign Director Frances Rodriguez, NPP candidate for resident commissioner Luis Fortuño, and Republican Party President for Puerto Rico Tiody Ferrer.

Incensed Reaction From NPP To Reduction Of Pension

June 24, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — New Progressive Party (NPP) leaders on Thursday voiced their discontent with the current administration and with the decision taken by the Government Employees Retirement System Administration, which ordered former governor Pedro Rossello’s pension reduced from $52,500 to $24,000.

NPP followers categorized the move by the Retirement System Administration, which also ordered the return of $77,000 received in excess since 2001, as a campaign of "persecution."

"They have mounted a crusade against our gubernatorial candidate Pedro Rossello in an attempt to change the outcome of November’s election, which everyone knows who will win…We have witnessed the destruction of documents and evidence…," said NPP candidate for resident commissioner Luis Fortuño.

According to press reports, when Retirement System Administrator Marisol Marchand was questioned on her decision she replied, " it is up to the pensioned individual to divulge that information."

On Wednesday, the same day in which the deadline for submission of evidence was due, Rossello left the island on campaign business, according to NPP Electoral Commissioner Thomas Rivera Schatz.

According to the Government Employees Retirement System Administration, Rossello failed to present evidence of work contracts with the Department of Health during the summers of 1962-64, the same which newspaper clippings show the former governor participating in tennis tournaments outside island.

Rivera Schatz assured that there would be a press conference on Thursday in reaction to the pension reduction.

Senate NPP Minority Leader Kenneth McClintock said the pension reductions was "the first step in a concrete judicial process motivated by campaign of persecution."

"It is now up to the courts to review this administrative decision and prove that the courts can deliver justice," added McClintock.

Ramos 32nd NBA Pick


June 24, 2004
Copyright © 2004
. All rights reserved. 

The Washington Wizards selected Peter John Ramos with their 32nd pick. Ramos, a 7-foot-3, 275-pound center, averaged 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds while playing professionally in Puerto Rico last season for Criollos de Caguas.

Ramos, 19, was born in Puerto Rico before moving to the United States at age 5. He began playing organized basketball in his early teens, relatively late for a top player.

"It was a chance for us to get a legitimate 7-footer," said Wizards President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld. "He's got good size and offense, and he's shown a lot of improvement."

Two New Local Parties Certified

June 24, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — The Puerto Ricans for Puerto Rico Party and The Independent Movement of the East (MIRE by its Spanish acronym) have been certified as local parties by petition by State Elections Commission (SEC), announced Puerto Rican Independence Party Electoral Commissioner (PIP) Juan Dalmau.

According to SEC, MIRE could sponsor candidates in district 36, made up by Vieques 96, Culebra 97, Ceiba 98, Fajardo 99, Luquillo 100 y Rio Grande 101 — and District 39, made up by Trujillo Alto 110 and Carolina 107.

Dalmau said that MIRE could also nominate two senators for Carolina’s Senatorial District as well as nominate mayors in all municipalities in which they collect the required signatures.

The Puerto Ricans for Puerto Rico Party, which hoped to be a national party, was able to get signatures in precincts Rincon 30, Vieques 96, Culebra 97 and Ceiba 98, but needs now to solicit certification from SEC to nominate candidates in those districts.

Sanchez Heads To Federal Bench, The Senate Confirmed The Nomination Of The Chester County Judge

By Reid Kanaley

Inquirer Staff Writer

June 24, 2004
Copyright © 2004
The Philadelphia Inquirer. All rights reserved. 

The U.S. Senate yesterday unanimously confirmed the White House appointment of Chester County Court Judge Juan R. Sanchez to a seat on the federal bench.

"It's a great feeling," Sanchez said of the confirmation seven months after his nomination by President Bush. The vote in his favor was 98-0.

Sanchez will assume a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in July.

Sanchez, a native of Puerto Rico who grew up in a Bronx housing project, started his legal career as an assistant public defender in Chester County in the early 1980s. He took a seat on the Chester County bench in 1998.

Just before the vote yesterday, Sen. Arlen Specter (R., Pa.) told the Senate that Sanchez's life represented "a great Horatio Alger success story."

Sen. Rick Santorum (R., Pa.) told his colleagues that Sanchez was an extraordinary person and judge, who had made "a tremendous contribution to the Hispanic community in Chester County."

New Coliseum To Open In September

June 23, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — Puerto Rico’s Miguel Agrelot Coliseum could open in September, informed Jochi Davila, manager of SMG which is in charge of coliseum operations.

Davila said that although the date is tentative, the schedule for last-minute repairs, permit requisition, and government discussions all point to September as a possible opening date.

According to press reports, testing of audio visual systems will be conducted throughout August.

In some of the trials will feature the attendance of Gov. Sila Calderon as well as members of her cabinet.

Although slated to open May 29, unfinished areas of the project, such as the kitchen and concession stands, and flaws with a retractable sitting area have delayed the coliseum’s inauguration.

Built at a cost of $250 million, the coliseum will depend on government subsidies to meet its annual debt which will reach $10 million to $15 million per year.

Report: Anthony Named To Olympic Team


June 23, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

DENVER (AP) -- Denver Nuggets rookie Carmelo Anthony, miffed at originally being passed over for the U.S. Olympic team, will reportedly join the squad after all.

Anthony's agent Calvin Andrews confirmed late Tuesday that the small forward accepted an invitation to the team, Denver media outlets reported.

Anthony's mother, Mary Anthony, also told the Rocky Mountain News that her son told her of his selection.

``He's honored and he's looking forward to it,'' Andrews told The Denver Post.

Anthony led all rookies in scoring in 2003-04 but finished second to Cleveland Cavaliers guard LeBron James in Rookie of the Year voting.

Neither was named an All-Star, but now both have been asked to play for Team USA at the Athens Games.

George W. Bush Delivers Remarks At Presidential Medal Of Freedom Ceremony

June 23, 2004
Copyright © 2004
FDCH / eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved. 

Political Transcripts by Federal Document Clearing House


This afternoon I have the privilege of presenting our nation's highest civil award. The Presidential Medal of Freedom recognizes achievement in public service, in science and education, entertainment, the arts, athletics, business and other fields. As the citations will indicate, each of the men and women has led of life of accomplishment and distinction, and holds special respect among the people of the United States.

Rita Moreno has also found success in New York, having found her way there from Puerto Rico. She first performed on stage as a young girl, and was on Broadway by age 13. Rita is remembered by many for her Oscar-winning performance in West Side Story. But the years since have been filled with memorable performances by a lady of incredible talent and style, energy and beauty. To a collection that includes the Oscar, the Tony, the Emmy and the Grammy, Rita Moreno may now add the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and we give this honor with affection and appreciation.

[After completing his remarks, Mr. Bush invited the medalists to the reception, and the Marine Band began playing tunes from "West Side Story," which Ms. Moreno starred in on Broadway.]

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