The Panel on the Independent Special Prosecutor (PFEI) determined that there is “sufficient cause” to begin a thorough investigation into the events that involve Governor Wanda Vázquez and other officials and former officials in the allegedly irregular management of supplies during the earthquake emergence at the beginning of the year in the south-west of the country.
The governor aspires to become the candidate for governorship by the New Progressive Party (PNP) for the general elections on November 3, but must first be measured against also pre-candidate Pedro Pierluisi in the primaries on August 9.
“The panel accepted the recommendation of the Department of Justice (DJ) that in this case an independent special prosecutor be appointed. This, when concluding that there is sufficient cause to order that a thorough investigation be carried out on the infractions of the law attributed to the officials who were referred to, "the PFEI said yesterday afternoon in a press release.
The report by Justice's preliminary investigation revolved around irregularities in the distribution of supplies from the warehouse of the Administration for Socioeconomic Development of the Family (Adsef) to the victims of the earthquakes in January.
In addition to Vázquez, the other officials and former officials who will be investigated are the Secretary of the Interior, Antonio Pabón; the ex-administrator of Adsef, Surima Quiñones Suárez; Senator Evelyn Vázquez, as well as José A. Galarza Vargas and María Teresa Zayas. As for Senator Nelson Cruz Santiago and Peter Muller Maldonado, the PFEI determined the case file.
The panel's determination – recorded in a resolution – indicates that it evaluated the preliminary investigation report signed by the director of the Integrity Division. Public and Affairs of the Comptroller of Justice, Phoebe Isales Forsythe, and by the assistant prosecutor Pedro Tomas Berríos Lara. Said report was referred by the then Secretary of Justice, Dennise Longo Quiñones.
“The PFEI, after evaluating in detail and exhaustively the preliminary investigation report submitted to it by the Department of Justice, understands that said investigation showed sufficient cause for that an in-depth investigation be carried out on the facts indicated in the aforementioned, ”said the panel, which appointed attorney Leticia Pabón Ortiz and attorney Miguel A. Colón Ortiz as deputy prosecutor for this investigation.
The Justice investigation began after receiving a complaint from the spokesman for the minority of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) in the House of Representatives, Rafael “Tatito” Hernández Montañez, for allegations that federal resources were being used for partisan political benefit.  After transcending the PFEI statement, Senator Cruz expressed on his social networks that “time proved me right. My only sin has been – as I have indicated previously – having supported the governor, who I trust in God will succeed in this process. ”
For his part, the president of the PPD, Aníbal José Torres, cataloged as regrettable and shameful For the country that the governor, as well as other high officials, were referred for investigation by the PFEI as a consequence of the alleged mismanagement of supplies to those affected by the earthquakes. He recalled that the investigation takes place one year after Ricardo Rosselló's resignation as governor.
“Once again, the country is shocked to learn of the news that high government officials are being investigated for infractions of the law. One year after the departure of the first governor of Puerto Rico to resign his post, the country has to deal with the FEI investigation of the governor. Corruption is once again the protagonist in the administration on duty, "he stressed.
Torres recalled that the great loser in this situation is the people. "We are the Puerto Ricans who suffer the consequences of the acts of those officials who have the inability and insensitivity to manage the resources of the people in the best way. The Country is tired of being deceived, of the lies and of the lack of transparency on the part of those who have the duty and responsibility to guarantee the people better opportunities, "said the senator.
EL VOCERO requested a reaction from the governor, but at press time her press secretary reported that there would be no statements at the moment.