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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Court upholds Ponce mayor’s suspension

Ponce Mayor Luis Irizarry Pabón, at lectern

By The Star Staff

The Puerto Rico Court of Appeals upheld as valid the suspension of employment recommended against Ponce Mayor Luis Irizarry Pabón by the Office of the Special Independent Prosecutor Panel (OPFEI by its Spanish initials).

Irizarry Pabón’s lawyers, José Andreu Fuentes and Carlos Tones, had challenged the decision in the middle court.

“The Court Panel, made up of its president Judge Rivera Colón, Judge Monge Gómez and Judge Cruz Hiraldo, confirmed the resolution issued by the FEI panel on the precautionary measure of suspension of employment of Dr. Irizarry Pabón,” the OPFEI said in a statement released Wednesday. “The Court returned the case to this institution to continue with the administrative procedures by the applicable regulations.”

According to the Court of Appeals, “it must be crystal clear that we think that the Panel acted correctly in ordering the precautionary measure of summary suspension of Irizarry Pabón’s employment.”

“Both the FEI Law and the applicable regulations validate this, after the determination of probable cause for the arrest that fell against the appellant,” the court said.

Irizarry Pabón was suspended earlier this month from his duties as mayor of Ponce by the OPFEI’s Disciplinary Administrative Processing Unit.

Popular Democratic Party President Jesús Manuel Ortiz, meanwhile, removed Irizarry Pabón from all his political positions.

The OPFEI had filed four charges against Irizarry Pabón for alleged unjustified enrichment and violations of the Government Ethics Law.

Since April, the special independent prosecutor’s office has been investigating Irizarry Pabón based on the recommendation of the Department of Justice. The report from the Justice Department’s Division of Public Integrity and Comptroller Affairs suggests that the mayor may have violated the Government Ethics Act and the Political Campaign Finance Control Act.

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