Aguadilla mayor calls for probe of alleged election fraud

By John McPhaul

Aguadilla Mayor Julio Roldán Concepción will ask island Justice Secretary-designate Domingo Emmanuelli to conduct a criminal investigation for perjury against those allegedly implicated in making false testimony related to the existence of 50 illegally cast ballots with mixed votes in the November elections, the mayor announced Monday in a written statement.

Those implicated in Roldán’s complaint are Yanitsia Irizarry Méndez, Edwin Mundo, Jessica Colón, Nanette Laguer, José Luis Castro and Saira Rosa. The latter four were the officials who the defeated mayor claimed saw the 50 mixed municipal ballots, which in a recount held Saturday were shown not to exist.

“Last Saturday, it was demonstrated that the former mayor’s claim was based on stereotypical affidavits, with no basis or foundation in the voting records,” Roldán said in his letter. “The defendants were successful in misleading the Court of Appeals, which caused public resources to be wasted in the Judicial Branch and in the State Elections Commission.”

“Jessica Colón, Nanette Laguer, José Luis Castro and Saira Rosa made four sworn statements that said exactly the same thing: that there were more than 50 ballots erroneously awarded by the machine [and] which were in violation of the electoral law,” added Roldán. “These vague and false statements were sufficient evidence for the Court of Appeals to request a manual recount. Undoubtedly, knowingly making false statements is a criminal act that we will not let go unanswered and those involved will have to face the consequences of their inappropriate actions.”

In addition to the accusations against the four officials, in his letter, Roldán requests that an investigation be made as to whether Irizarry, the former mayor of Aguadilla, “incurred ethical misconduct as a licensed attorney, since the ethical canons that govern the profession prohibit lawyers from abusing and wasting the limited funds of the Judicial Branch.”

“Undoubtedly, her participation in a farce that constituted a dangerous precedent in the electoral history of Puerto Rico, being a lawyer, must be investigated and reach its final consequences, since they are reprehensible actions with serious consequences,” Roldán said.

The Aguadilla mayor said the complaint also includes Mundo, the electoral adviser of the New Progressive Party, for similarly making a sworn statement assuring that “everything declared is the truth and nothing but the truth.”

Meanwhile, Irizarry acknowledged in a radio interview Monday that she was not victorious in her bid for reelection and accepted that Roldán is the mayor of the northwestern coastal municipality.

Regarding the processes in the courts, the former mayor denied that the New Progressive Party officials had lied.

“Here the only one who has lied in the process has been the lawyer for the Popular Democratic Party, who in an oral hearing, in the letter to the Superior Court and in the letter to the Appellate Court said that there was no evidence of wrongdoing.

They made a representation to the court that there was not a single [bit of evidence],” Irizarry said in a radio interview with Rubén Sánchez on WKAQ 580.

“There were illegal votes that were incorrectly read by the machines of the State Election Commission,” she said, referring to what the Court of Appeals decided. “It was a very close election. It was a very, very close election.”

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