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**LATE BREAKING NEWS -- THE SAN JUAN STAR**
PDP Withdraws Lawsuit Challenging Plebiscite - Party Will
Focus on Victory for the 5th Option
San Juan, Nov. 11 -- PDP President Anibal Acevedo Vila on Tuesday announced
that the party was withdrawing its lawsuit challenging the plebiscite and
will focus instead on a Dec. 13th victory for the "none of the above"
Acevedo Vila denied that the PDP was afraid to pursue its lawsuit in
federal court for fear that the U.S. Supreme Court would define the commonwealth
as a territory or colony.
However, before the announcement, Gov. Pedro Rossello said that the PDP
didn't stand a chance defending the bilateral pact theory before the Supreme
Court because the federal courts and Congess have established that such
a relationship does not exist.
EL NUEVO DIA
The Federal Court Will Decide the Plebiscite Case
by Juanita Colombani y Jesús Dávila
November 10, 1998
©Copyright, El Nuevo Día
The Popular Democratic Party's suit against the plebiscite law will definitely
be heard by Federal Court Judge Juan Perez Gimenez, Boston's First Circuit
Court of Appeals decided yesterday.
In an order of only three lines in length, the appellate court secretary
advised that the three-judge panel in charge of considering this matter
denied the mandamus request which the PPD had presented so that Boston
would order Perez Gimenez to withdraw from the case.
An opinion which coincides with arguments supporting the decision will
be presented shortly, the brief order adds.
The Circuit Court order leaves an open path for Perez Gimenez, who will
begin to preside over a criminal judgment on the 16th of this month, to
determine the merit of the PDP suit, which maintains that the plebiscite
law is unconstitutional.
PDP president Anibal Acevedo Vila expressed no surprise over the decision
and was careful in speaking of the steps which will be taken.
NEVERTHELESS, in what seems to be a change in strategy, he stated that
judicial matters related to the plebiscite pass to a "second plane"
from this moment forward, and that the most important thing will be to concentrate
the party's energy on the electoral event of Dec. 13.
"For the Popular Party, the primary agenda at this moment is to
vindicate the rights of the Puerto Rican people at the voting polls. In
view of the fact that five weeks remain before the 13th, the legal matters
must move to a second plane, and we are confident of our triumph at the
polls," the popular leader said.
"I reiterate that this law is anti-democratic and unconstitutional
to the protection of the constitution of the Commonwealth...our next legal
steps will be taken as promptly as possible, once we talk with our lawyers,"
Acevedo Vila added.
The PDP maintains that the plebiscite law is unconstitutional because
it does not provide an acceptable commonwealth definition which is representative
of the "pact" which the PDP claims exists between the United States
and Puerto Rico. Therefore, they decided to promote a chastising vote against
Gov. Pedro Rossello, that of the fifth column on the plebiscite ballot,
"none of the preceding".
This case had been originally submitted to the Primary Court in San Juan,
but the Department of Justice successfully requested that the Federal Court
preside over the case.
For Pedro Figueroa, the spokesperson of the New Progressive Party in
the House, "What this demonstrates is that Puerto Rico is, without
a doubt, a colony subject to the U.S. Congress and government."
Boston's decision makes it clear that issues relating to the plebiscite
"are matters of strict federal control. That the mainland courts are
those which are called to have the final say in this matter," he said.
Meanwhile, the popular senator Eudaldo Baez Galib stated that the decision
"necessarily implicates" that the court understood "that
this involves a substantial federal matter".
"Personally, I believe that as we have already inserted into the
ballot" an option which he said that he feels comfortable with, "I
would recommend to the party that before this electoral situation...it seems
unnecessary" to continue with the suit. "At this stage, I do not
see any reason for us to continue with this litigation" insofar as
the general allegations are concerned. He stated that it was his opinion
that the best thing would be to continue "exclusively with carrying
out the local elections".
The highest officials of the Puerto Rican Independent Party were not
surprised by this three-line decision. "It does not surprise me in
the least, since the PIP has been affirming the colonial nature of Puerto
Rican status since the very foundation of the Commonwealth," Ruben
Berrios said last night. He explained that, according to the parameters
of the relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico, there is
absolutely no doubt that it is a federal matter.
"I believe that this determination surely destroys all the phantasmagorial
and illusionary theories of those who accepted and baptized the colonial
condition, but who now refuse to recognize that they did so. At last, the
moment of the supreme definition draws near," said the PIP president
in reference to the words of Pedro Albizu Campos about Puerto Rico's final
option, "either the Yankees or the Puerto Ricans".
Click here for PDP Injunction
to Stop 1998 Status Plebiscite
Click here for the court
decision upholding Federal Jurisdiction of PDP Plebiscite Suit
Click here for related
article from The San Juan Star