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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Court orders delivery of Machargo’s file to House panel



Rep. Héctor Ferrer Santiago, second from left, said that “With this decision, we will continue our work to ensure that all government entities operate under the principle of transparency and that public officials are accountable to the citizens of Puerto Rico.”

By The Star Staff


The Puerto Rico Court of Appeals has ordered the Government Ethics Office (GEO) to submit the investigative file on former Natural and Environmental Resources Department Secretary Rafael Machargo Maldonado to the House Anti-Corruption Committee for a probe, Committee Chairman Héctor Ferrer Santiago said Monday.


Previously, Superior Court Judge Alfonso Martínez Piovanetti had determined that the GEO had engaged in contempt for not delivering an investigation file to the House of Representatives and established May 10 as the last deadline before issuing an arrest warrant against the GEO executive director.


The judge had already ordered the delivery of the file on the investigation, which had been closed without a complaint being filed against Machargo. If the GEO had an objection to delivering a particular document within the file, it was supposed to detail it in a log to bring it to the attention of the judge, who had dismissed GEO arguments that the file was outside the scope of a resolution that allowed the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Commission to investigate agencies such as the GEO.


“This resolution is a clear victory for transparency and accountability,” Ferrer Santiago said. “The decision strengthens our commitment to integrity in public service.”


The Court of Appeals reaffirmed the position of the House of Representatives, ruling that they have the legislative and constitutional power to access essential documents to carry out oversight functions. The court noted that, pursuant to Articles I, Sec. 2 and Art. IV, Secs. 1 and 4 of the Constitution of Puerto Rico, the Legislature has the prerogative to investigate and access the information necessary to legislate in an informed and effective manner.


Ferrer Santiago called it regrettable and paradoxical for the GEO, led by Luis Pérez, to torpedo the Legislature by refusing to deliver crucial information and going to the Court of Appeals to hide the truth. The GEO’s initial refusal and subsequent disregard for the court’s mandate underscore the importance of the resolution, which prevents any attempt to hide information and reaffirms that no one is above the law, the legislator said.


“With this decision, we will continue our work to ensure that all government entities operate under the principle of transparency and that public officials are accountable to the citizens of Puerto Rico,” Ferrer Santiago said.


Last month, the Office of the Special Independent Prosecutor opted not to investigate Machargo over a meeting with former Santa Isabel mayor Enrique Questell Alvarado, who was being investigated for certain illegal construction projects.

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shooter bubble
shooter bubble
Jul 10

The House panel continues looking through the material to see what conclusions it may reach. In the end, the rule of law and justice must triumph. bubble shooter


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