San Juan – The Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI) requested this Monday, through a petition for mandamus against the mayor of San Juan, Miguel A. Romero Lugo, the data of the salaries of all the employees of that municipality from 2009 to the present.
The CPI’s efforts to obtain the information began on November 11, when Carmen “Yulín” Cruz Soto was mayor of San Juan.
Explain the request of mandamus that neither Cruz Soto nor Romero Lugo, or their press spokesmen, provided the requested information, despite multiple efforts to obtain it.
“Neither of the two mayors of San Juan seemed to understand the importance of this request for information in a context in which citizens demand accountability and transparency. The work of monitoring the press, which is essential in any country that aspires to be democratic, is hampered when timely access is not given to public data and documents. It has been almost four months since we started requesting this data, and we don’t have it. Without remedy, we return to court, ”said Carla Minet, executive director of the CPI.
The CPI petition arose after a court ordered in October of last year that the salaries of Legislature employees be made public, which exposed multiple cases of hiring family members and people close to legislators, sometimes without the minimum qualifications to carry out the positions, with scandalous salaries.
The organization requests the names, salaries, and dates of appointment and termination of the municipality’s employees.
“The party against whom this appeal is directed has the ministerial duty to deliver the requested information,” indicated in the complaint the legal representatives of the CPI, Luis José Torres Asencio and Steven Lausell Recurt, of the Legal Assistance Clinic of the Faculty of Law from the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico.
They recalled that in the case of Irizarry Pabón v. Autonomous Municipality of Ponce, in 2016, “a Panel of the Court of Appeals resolved a dispute identical to the one in the present case, ordering the delivery of the same information requested in this case under the constitutional right of access to information.”
“This was also done by this Court in Prados Rodríguez v. Rivera Schatz (October 2020), in which the publication of the name, position, starting date, termination and salary of the employees of the Senate of Puerto Rico was ordered, ”they added.
Access to information has been recognized in Puerto Rico as a fundamental human and constitutional right, which emanates from the rights of freedom of expression, press and association expressed in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , said Carla Minet when making known the request of mandamus presented today before the Superior Chamber of San Juan of the Court of First Instance.