Ethics Committee Takes Over Misla's Case
Governor Defends Noriega
Police Crime Logs Faulty
Rossello Committed To NPP, Says Calderon Administration `Failing'
Justice Appeals Blue Ribbon Unconstitutional Decision
Navy Can Deploy Without Live-Fire Training
House Ethics Committee Takes Over Misla's Case
December 3, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - The House Ethics Committee took jurisdiction over the complaint filed by House Speaker Carlos Vizcarrondo to evaluate the case of New Progressive Party (NPP) Rep. Edison Misla Aldarondo.
After concluding its duties on Saturday morning, the committee announced that it had found cause to proceed to an executive hearing scheduled for Dec. 20, when all the evidence regarding the case will be presented, according to published reports.
Vizcarrondo filed a complaint before the committee after a grand jury accused Misla Aldarondo in federal court of several counts of government corruption.
Governor Defends David Noriega
December 3, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - Gov. Sila Calderon paid no attention to several New Progressive Party (NPP) leaders who requested the destitution of David Noriega from his presidential post at the Independent Citizens Committee to Evaluate Government Transactions, also known as the Blue Ribbon Committee.
Calderon reiterated her support for the former legislator and for his performance as head of the controversial committee.
"We want to remove corruption from Puerto Rico and no one will stop me in the fight to cleanse this government," the governor said.
The NPP leaders made their request following a dispute between Noriega and Commonwealth Comptroller Manuel Diaz Saldaña due to the ruling of U.S. District Court Judge Jose A. Fuste, who declared the evaluation proceedings of the committee to be unconstitutional.
The NPP alleged that Noriega lost all credibility after criticizing Diaz Saldaña, who had previously accused Noriega of being politically biased in his job as member of the committee.
"Noriega has insulted the institution of the comptroller," said former Senate President Charlie Rodriguez during his participation at an assembly of NPP municipal legislators.
On Saturday, Noriega lashed out at Diaz Saldaña. Noriega accused the comptroller of being an "NPP Taliban" and of being a "pretty weak" comptroller. He also recommended Diaz Saldaña "to talk less and work more."
Police Crime Logs Faulty, Paper Says
December 2, 2001
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Not long after San Juan police touted an 18.2 percent reduction in violent crime during the first 10 months of 2001, a review of daily police logs by the San Juan newspaper El Nuevo Día uncovered widespread underreporting of crime in the metropolitan area. Between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, San Juan police failed to include at least 721 violent crimes -- such as murder, rape, robbery and aggravated battery -- in official monthly crime reports, the newspaper found. Sometimes, information was left off police complaint forms so that a crime was instead listed as a misdemeanor. Other times, police simply reduced the tally on monthly reports.
Rossello Committed To NPP
December 1, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - Former Gov. Pedro Rossello stated that he would work for his New Progressive Party (NPP) to win the 2004 elections, though he said he would not seek an elective post at this moment.
"I want to see my party, the NPP, which still represents, to my understanding, the best option of social justice, win and acquire the leadership of the administration of the Puerto Rico government," said the former governor, who left the island the same day he passed the governmental baton to Gov. Sila Calderon in January.
In published reports, Rossello said that interest and the one to achieve decolonization of the island "are the motivations that stimulate me to break my silence and make an analysis of the situation that Puerto Rico lives in today."
Rossello said he still has a commitment with the statehood ideal, which will channel through other roles that are not active politics.
Rossello described his passage through elective politics as a "duty of all citizens to serve the community and not as a professional career."
Rossello's Opinion: Calderon Administration `Failing'
NOVEMBER 30, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - Former Gov. Pedro Rossello said Gov. Sila Calderon's administration is "failing" in all the basic matters such as crime control, job creation, economic growth, and the U.S. Navy's future in Vieques.
In published reports, Rossello gave the Calderon administration an "F" and said it is portrayed by its "lack of works" and for being a "total failure."
He added that a year ago no one could predict the awful state that the island is facing and its economy and asked: What happened to Calderon's promises of increasing jobs by 100,000?
He described the governor's refuge in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the U.S. economic problems as a "good excuse" to get around her responsibility for the island's economic crisis, and he said the economic deceleration attributed directly to the halt of infrastructure projects, and the halt of construction permits by the present administration.
Justice Files Appeal Notification In Blue Ribbon Case
December 1, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - The government announced the beginning of the appeal process of the determination of U.S. District Court Judge Jose Fuste, who declared the proceedings used by the Independent Citizens Committee to Evaluate Government Transactions as unconstitutional.
Justice Secretary Anabelle Rodriguez informed that the government filed the notification of appeals Friday afternoon before the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, "which starts the appeal process."
She said in the radio forum of Committee Chairman David Noriega that the government will "probably present Monday afternoon" a motion that "would move some of the arguments forward" to request the appellate forum to attend to the case as soon as possible.
However, she said the case's resolution "will take several months, assuming that the request is accepted."
Once again, the official expressed her confidence that the official position will be restored before the appellate court in Boston.
"I don't have the slightest doubt that the foundation of this decision [Fuste's] are completely mistaken," she said.
The secretary said the attorney general and Rafael Escalera, who represents the committee, will be in charge of the appeals case. However, she added that she will also be "involved with the written documents."
On the other hand, Rodriguez reiterated that Fuste's decision "in no form paralyzes the committee's works," which according to the judge, violates the due process of law in its evaluation proceedings of cases.
Judge Declares Blue Ribbon Committee Unconstitutional
By Proviana Colon Diaz
November 30th, 2001
U.S. District Court Judge Jose Fuste ruled late Thursday that Gov. Sila Calderon's Blue Ribbon Committee is unconstitutional because it violates the U.S. Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment.
With his ruling, Fuste grants a permanent injunction prohibiting the committee from holding hearings and investigations without providing those being investigated with the right to defend themselves.
Former Department of Natural and Environmental Resources Secretary Daniel Pagan and former Office of Management and Budget Director Jorge Aponte filed the request for a permanent injunction, after being the object of two Blue Ribbon Committee reports.
After evaluating the probe, Fuste ruled that the "procedures employed by the Blue Ribbon Committee violate the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment of the U.S. Constitution."
Fuste added that his ruling is a "minimal reparation [that] stands pale compared to the injuries suffered" by the plaintiffs.
The fourteenth amendment states that "no state shall make or enforce any law that shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
Fuste's ruling comes 20 days after concluding a three-day hearing on the matter that included the testimony of Calderon and committee members, including Chairman David Noriega.
Navy Can Deploy Without Live-Fire Training
Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough
November 30, 2001
Adm. Vern Clark, chief of naval operations, is not ruling out the possibility that the next East Coast carrier battle group can deploy at the highest readiness rating (C-1), even without live-fire training on the island of Vieques . But he is warning the job will be tough.
The carrier USS John F. Kennedy battle group is scheduled to deploy this spring. Adm. Clark has asked Navy Secretary Gordon England to break from current practice and let the ships, and a Marine expeditionary unit, practice with live ammo on the Puerto Rican island in January.
" Vieques training without live ordnance would not, of itself, preclude the ships of the JFK BG and Wasp ARG from attainting C-1 ratings in all mission areas [dependent on completion of scheduled training events]," Adm. Clark said in a letter to Congress.
But the admiral added, "Regarding specific mission areas, conducting strike warfare and amphibious warfare training utilizing close air support and supporting arms coordination with live ordnance will best prepare deploying forces for potential combat, something that presently can only be done on Vieques ."
Adm. Clark's petition to reopen Vieques to real bullets was seconded by Gen. James Jones, Marine commandant. They cited the open- ended war on terrorism, which could find sailors and Marines engaged in combat in a variety of locations.
President Clinton banned the use of real ordnance as a compromise with protesters who want the 40-year-old range closed. President Bush then ordered the Navy to leave the island by 2003.
Adm. Clark wrote "there are currently no alternative locations that would provide a higher level of combat readiness than Vieques " prior to the JFK's deployment. "We are deploying forces as ready as available facilities will allow."