In the midst of the storm over investigations, referrals and accusations in the government, the former secretary of the Department of Justice, Dennise Longo Quiñones, reaffirmed that there are two referrals that include Governor Wanda Vázquez and said that it is the people who evaluate the facts, the information that is available and reach its conclusions.
In an interview with EL VOCERO he preferred not to adjudicate if the governor is unable to continue in office or if the designated secretary of Justice, Wandymar Burgos, obstructed justice when he decided to stop the six referrals he left ready for delivery to the Panel on the Independent Special Prosecutor (PFEI).
Since last Friday, when the governor asked him to resign, Longo Quiñones is – as never before – in the public eye, but she does not regret having held the position in Justice, after Vázquez called her to leave the Federal Prosecutor's Office and decided to work with the state government.
When asked if she considers that the governor is unable to continue in her position, Longo Quiñones answered categorically: "It is a decision that she has to make."
" It is important that the people evaluate the facts and the information that is coming to light to make that determination and each one of us will have to make that determination … I signed a referral for an investigation, so that merits an investigation, " The former Secretary of Justice affirmed, referring to the six referrals that she ordered to send to the PFEI and that they include two preliminary investigations that involve the governor.
She did not go into details, but acknowledged that the main investigation is due to the inadequate handling of the supplies in a warehouse in Ponce, which was supposed to help the victims of the earthquakes at the beginning of the year.
Yesterday, Vázquez alleged that when he asked for the resignation last Friday Longo Quiñones' ia was because he intervened in three federal investigations in which he had to be inhibited and spoke of his intention to want to participate in a meeting on one of those cases. The governor announced that she would refer her to the Office of Government Ethics (OEG).
The former official assured that she did not interfere in those investigations and stressed that "the meeting never occurred, that is, that the accusation is inmeritorious. On the contrary, here I had made an inhibition and my advisers when seeing the matter and evaluating it told me that I could not be in that meeting and I did not participate in that meeting. I activated the inhibition process in the correct way and my inhibition is registered in Government Ethics. ”
He added that his professional life has always been governed by ethics. “My career as a federal prosecutor has always been to conduct investigations that could pass the scrutiny of a judicial process beyond reasonable doubt. He wanted the process to be uncontested, "he said.
When asked if the designated secretary Burgos obstructed justice by stopping the six referred to the PFEI, she said she was unaware of it. “You are asking me to assess a situation that I am not aware of. I really do not know what happened, I was not in the Department of Justice, what were the decisions and the communications, I do not know, "he replied.
Longo Quiñones confirmed that Justice's notification to the PFEI that the governor was the object of a Justice investigation took place before the president told her mother, the interim ex-secretary of Health, Concepción Quiñones de Longo.
“Yes, since March 11 it had already been notified. This is really an investigation that begins in January, with a referral in January and there is a letter confirming in March that there is an investigation in progress, "he said.
PFEI confirms statements
For her part, the president of the PFEI, Nydia Cotto Vives, confirmed to this newspaper that they had learned of investigations in Justice that included Governor Vázquez since March this year.
He explained that in criminal investigations – whether under the PFEI, Justice or other law – the people involved, or commonly called 'card', are not notified, and that is why Vázquez had not been informed .
“That never happens. You subpoena witnesses who are not under investigation because if you subpoena witnesses who are under investigation you have to give them the legal warnings. Yes, Justice had requested the term of the 90 days and there is a resolution of the panel granting it the 90 days, "he pointed out.
He observed that the PFEI does not initiate the investigations, but rather carries out investigations once it receives the referrals. “And when they come to us, we serve them according to the law. In no case do we deviate from what the law says, "he assured. He refused to comment on the criticisms made yesterday by the first executive against the PFEI.
Cotto Vives received yesterday the referrals whose delivery was interrupted on Monday afternoon by Burgos, and which include the two preliminary investigations that allude to the governor.