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Rossello: Marrero Perez Should Not Seek Re-Election

by Proviana Colón Díaz

April 2, 2000
Copyright © 2000 PuertoRicoWOW NEWS SERVICE. All Rights Reserved.

Gov. Pedro Rossello said Monday that for the sake of the New Progressive Party (NPP), Sen. Anibal Marrero Perez should quit his re-election bid and dedicate his time and effort to clear his name from allegations that he accepted bribes from a businessman in exchange for government help.

Rossello said there are two ways to deal with the allegations. One is through the legal system, both through the Senate Ethics Committee and the Justice Department, and the other is as a political matter to be handled by the NPP and its leaders. Party President and gubernatorial candidate Carlos Pesquera should call a meeting to discuss the matter, Rossello said.

For the governor, who arrived in Puerto Rico Sunday after almost a month-long absence due to health reasons, the allegations that have surfaced are not cause enough to merit Marrero Perez’s resigning from his legislative seat. However, if the legal investigation shows there was some kind of misconduct, then a resignation is justified, Rossello said.

"In the political realm, this is different. It is possible that it might be necessary and convenient for a member of the party, who is not helping to convey the message that the party wants, to quit. This is not for legal issues, but for political reasons in an election year," Rossello said.

In related matters, Rossello said he would favor Education Secretary Victor Fajardo as a possible replacement for Marrero Perez, but said he would regret losing him as part of his cabinet.

Fajardo’s name surfaced over the weekend as a possible replacement after NPP leaders suggested his name.

For his part, Fajardo on Monday said he would not seek elected office and would remain in his post until the end of this four-year term, according to The Associated Press.

Marrero Perez, meanwhile, said he would not resign his legislative seat and would not comment on Rossello's suggestion that he desist of seeking re-election, AP reported.

Marrero Perez, NPP-Bayamon, on Friday resigned his post as Senate vice president following allegations that he accepted bribes from businessman Andrew Cipollo in exchange for his endorsement of an aluminum recycling plant.

Reports surfaced early last week indicating that Cipollo was being investigated by the FBI in Chicago and that he had been convicted in California for fraud.

The misconduct allegations against Marrero Perez were not the only ones that should be investigated by the NPP, Rossello said. Pesquera, he said, should also investigate the misconduct of Cataño Mayor Edwin Rivera Sierra, who was allegedly involved in a brawl during the weekend.

The party should decide whether Rivera Sierra’s behavior would affect the party in any way during this election year, Rossello said.

NPP Secretary General Jorge Davila was scheduled to meet with Rivera Sierra and Marrero Perez on Monday to get their side of the story.

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