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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

At mayors’ urging, PDP general council will meet on crisis triggered by Electoral Reform vote

Popular Democratic Party President Jesús Manuel Ortiz González

By The Star Staff

In reaction to disciplinary measures taken by Popular Democratic Party (PDP) President Jesús Manuel Ortiz González against Speaker of the House of Representatives Rafael “Tatito” Hernández Montañez, seven mayors from the PDP on Thursday called for protection for the party and the convening of the party’s general council.

“The actions of the Speaker of the House are highly condemnable,” the mayors said in a written statement.

The group emphasized the need to support the party’s institutional integrity and protect the collectivity in times of challenge, noting that “it is time for us all to be allowed … to examine these developments.”

The mayors suggested that House Bill 1822, the Electoral Code Reform, should be reconsidered and removed from all legislative proceedings, respecting the provisions of the PDP governing board.

Later on Thursday, PDP Secretary General Gerardo “Toñito” Cruz Maldonado announced in response to the mayors’ request that a meeting of the general council will be convened on Sunday, Sept. 10 at a time yet to be determined.

The reaction of the mayors came after disciplinary actions were applied to a group of PDP House members, including Hernández Montañez, who defied the directives of the PDP governing board in voting in favor of the reform.

Hernández Montañez, who was suspended from all of his positions in the PDP until Dec. 31, 2024, said the disciplinary measure is undemocratic.

In addition, 15 other representatives were put under evaluation for possible sanction for voting in favor of the amendments to the Electoral Code that were opposed by the PDP president.

“We totally reject the findings of fact included in this Resolution as disproportionate and contrary to the most basic notions of democracy and freedom on which a party with 85 years of history is founded,” Hernández Montañez said in a written statement. “In accordance with paragraph 11 of Article 39 of the Regulations of the Popular Democratic Party, we will appear before the Governing Board during the regulatory term to demand a fair process and demand a due process of law that does not impose severe sanctions through a summary procedure that by its nature violates the most basic notions of due process of law.”

He said he will face the process with the integrity and firmness that characterizes him “to prevent this situation from permanently damaging the Popular Democratic Party.”

Ortiz González summarily suspended Hernández Montañez from his positions on the PDP governing board and general council, and in the PDP general assembly.

In addition, the PDP president’s disciplinary action referred the following party lawmakers for evaluation by an executive board of examining officers: Reps. Edgardo Feliciano Sánchez, Ángel A. Fourquet Cordero, Gretchen Hau Irizarry, Jesús Hernández Arroyo, Rafael Hernández Montañez, Ángel N. Matos García, Lydia Méndez Sylva, Luis R. Ortiz Lugo, Jorge A. Rivera Segarra, Joel Sánchez Ayala, Jesús F. Santa Rodríguez, Deborah Soto Arroyo, Domingo Torres García and José M. Varela Fernández.

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