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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

At convention, PDP gets lift from Ponce mayor’s exit as candidate

“This way [outgoing Ponce Mayor Luis Manuel Irizarry Pabón] will be able to concentrate on his defense and it allows us as an institution to focus on working together to win in November,” Popular Democratic Party President Jesús Manuel Ortíz González said. (Popular Democratic Party/Facebook)

By The Star Staff

Resident commissioner candidate Pablo José Hernández Rivera on Sunday celebrated the announcement at the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) convention about the party’s chosen candidate in the Ponce mayor’s race after the suspended mayor of the southern coastal city, Luis Manuel Irizarry Pabón, announced he would not seek re-election.

“The great news of this meeting, beyond its organizational success and massive attendance of delegations from all municipalities, was the agreement for the interim mayor of Ponce, Marlese Sifre, to be the official candidate and Representative [Ángel] Fourquet to continue his excellent legislative work,” Hernández Rivera said in a written statement. “Once again, the Popular Democratic Party is teaching unity of purpose and focus on the future. Unlike the New Progressive Party’s gubernatorial campaigns, where they are accused of bribery and treason, the PDP is on the same page working to win.”

Party president Jesús Manuel Ortíz González said in another written statement earlier in the day: “I thank Dr. Irizarry Pabón for making the right decision for him and for the PDP.”

“This way he will be able to concentrate on his defense and it allows us as an institution to focus on working together to win in November,” Ortíz González said. “To that end, in the coming days we will announce the start of the substitution process in accordance with the electoral calendar. We are confident that after all this process, the PDP in Ponce will continue to work together. We reiterate our desire that the process that Dr. Irizarry Pabón will face will be a just one.”

PDP Electoral Commissioner Karla Angleró González said in a radio interview that Irizarry Pabón must provide an affidavit to make the candidacy available and that the party can then open a process to fill the vacancy.

Late last week a judge found cause for trial against Irizarry Pabón in a preliminary hearing process in which he was accused by the Special Independent Prosecutor Panel of allegedly soliciting trust employees to repay a personal loan of his.

The outgoing mayor was charged with unjustified enrichment and violations of the Government Ethics Act.

Also participating in the PDP convention held at the Ponce Hilton, San Juan mayoral candidate Terestella González Denton expressed confidence on Sunday that the enthusiasm at the event “is a great predictor.”

“Without a doubt we are going to win in Ponce and also in San Juan, because the organizational, electoral and collection work is being done,” said the president of the PDP municipal committee of San Juan.

Regarding her campaign, the former director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company said that “in San Juan we are facing a totally different scenario, because we are meeting the goals that we set monthly in terms of electoral work.”

“It gives me great satisfaction that many people who have been away from partisan politics for years are coming and are contributing and collaborating,” she said.

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