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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Appeals court gives green light to MVC, PD candidacies

Citizen Victory Movement (MVC) General Coordinator Manuel Natal Albelo speaks alongside MVC resident commissioner candidate Sen. Ana Irma Rivera Lassén. The MVC won an appeal filed against the disqualification of Rivera Lassén and other candidates in which it pointed to four alleged errors in Judge Anthony Cuevas’ ruling.

By The Star Staff

The Puerto Rico Court of Appeals on Tuesday reversed a Court of San Juan ruling that in March disqualified a number of candidates from the Citizen Victory Movement (MVC by its Spanish initials) and the Dignity Project (PD) political parties for failing to collect endorsements.

The Appeals Court noted that the plaintiffs who filed the suit to disqualify the MVC and the Dignity Project candidates did not have legal standing nor did they demonstrate to the court that they had a sufficient connection to and harm from the law or action challenged.

“Having resolved that the damage for which the lower court recognized active standing to one of the plaintiffs and interveners is hypothetical, we resolve that they did not meet the requirement of having suffered a clear and palpable damage that would grant them standing to file the lawsuit,” states the Appeals Court ruling. “It is therefore appropriate to revoke the appealed sentence due to lack of active standing.”

The decision reversed a ruling that Judge Anthony Cuevas Ramos issued on March 21, thus paving the way for the MVC and PD candidates to run in the general election.

The plaintiffs from the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) made a significant move by announcing their decision to appeal the Court of Appeals’ decision to the Puerto Rico Supreme Court, adding a layer of anticipation to the ongoing legal battle.

Cuevas had disqualified the MVC candidacies of Ana Irma Rivera Lassén, who was running for resident commissioner, Myrna Conty Hernández and Mariana Nogales Molinelli, both of whom were running for at-large seats in the House of Representatives, and Senate candidates Rafael Bernabe Riefkohl and Alejandro Santiago Calderón. Cuevas also disqualified the Dignity Project candidacy of Stephen Gil Álamo for the District 38 House seat.

The MVC filed its appeal against the disqualification pointing to four alleged errors in Cuevas’ ruling. They also sought a window of opportunity to allow the MVC candidates to collect endorsements.

The appellate court decision was written by judges Félix Figueroa Cabán, Ana Mateu Meléndez, Fernando Bonilla Ortiz and Annette Prats Palerm after an oral hearing. One of the judges dissented from the majority opinion.

At-large PDP House candidate Jorge Quiles Gordillo said: “We respect the decision of the panel judges. However, we disagree with the determination and reiterate that the MVC and PD candidates failed to comply with the Electoral Code and the applicable regulations.”

“In conversation with our legal representation, and in defense of democracy and the uniform application of the laws, we are going to appeal to the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico,” he said. “Likewise, we insist that Judge Cuevas Ramos’ determination was strictly legal, which is why the Court of Appeals should have confirmed the Court of First Instance.”

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1 Comment

William Rosa
William Rosa
May 01

The realm of the PPD/PNP party keep getting untangled in terms of the solutions presented to deal with the current crisis, their internal structures and processes and now at the legal level. This could be another sign of political changes outside the control orbit of the PPD/PNP which means that when the November comes around, the Puerto Rican people will have a real option and not a change of manager "de turno."

It's not only cynical but almost naive the tools used by the PPD/PNP to tamper with the new political alternatives that will appear on the ballot. Additionally, the internal fractions show the wear and tear of a 74-year discourse that had ignored the consequences of failed political actions…

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