• The San Juan Daily Star

Disqualified Cataño mayoral contender asks court to find NPP in contempt

Gabriel Sicardó Ocasio

By The Star Staff

Lawyers for Gabriel Sicardó Ocasio have asked the San Juan Superior Court to declare the New Progressive Party (NPP) board of directors in contempt of court for not presenting evidence as to the reasons why he was disqualified as a candidate for Cataño mayor.

Sicardó Ocasio argued in his appeal that the NPP board did not comply with the court’s order because in its ratification of disqualification, it did not present evidence as to the reasons why he was disqualified.

He also asked the court to order the NPP to qualify him as a candidate for mayor of Cataño and that the party be ordered to hold a special election. The NPP certified Julio Alicea Vasallo as mayor and he was sworn in over the weekend.

Last Thursday, Judge Rebeca De León Ríos of the San Juan Superior Court issued a ruling ordering the NPP board of directors to conclude the evaluation process of Sicardó Ocasio as a candidate for mayor of Cataño and and a “record of the facts supported by evidence on which the disqualification is based, as provided in the Evaluation Regulations of the party.”

On Saturday, the NPP board submitted an informative motion to the court in which it reported the determination to ratify the disqualification of Sicardó Ocasio. Based on that, the State Elections Commission certified Alicea Vasallo as the only candidate.

“We wish to emphasize that the NPP’s ‘Informative Motion’ did not include a copy of the NPP’s determination of December 18, 2021, the corresponding annexes that substantiate with evidence the indications that led the NPP Board of Directors to take a decision to ratify its resolution of December 12, 2021, which disqualified the plaintiff as a candidate for the vacancy of Mayor of Cataño, by the NPP,” reads the appeal.

“Therefore, we have the conviction that the defendant, in an extremely reckless manner and incurring contempt against the order of this Honorable Forum, in its Judgment of December 16, 2021, did not comply with Article 66 of the party regulations, since it did not record the alleged facts with the evidence …” the document states.

Furthermore, in his brief, Sicardó Ocasio reiterated that he had been the victim of a discriminatory act by the NPP. He claimed that his disqualification “has the sole purpose of washing the face of the party before public opinion, because of all the recent arrests that have affected the party,” and that the plaintiff “is being used as a guinea pig for those purposes, on account of his reputation, both as a professional and as a citizen of the town of Cataño.”

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