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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Education Dept. official whose house & office were raided is suspended from job

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi

By John McPhaul

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said Wednesday that the manager of the Technical Institutes Division of the island Department of Education’s (DE) Vocational Area, whose residence and office were raided by federal authorities early in the day, has been suspended from his position.

“The information I have is that this intervention by the inspector general of the federal Department of Education is in the area of vocational education, particularly the area that manages the technological institutes of the department,” Pierluisi said at a press conference.

“Regarding the raided property, the information I have is that he is an operations manager in that work area of the department,” the governor added. “He has a career position and he is going to proceed to relieve himself of his position while the investigation is carried out.”

Asked about his opinion on the fact that there have been several instances in which the DE has been the subject of intervention by federal authorities, the governor replied: “Yes, but look, we have not had any red flag [that the DE has been involved in wrongdoing], at least In the year and seven months that we have been in charge.”

“This is the first time that we have had a situation like this,” he said.

Earlier on Wednesday, DE Secretary Eliezer Ramos Parés refrained from providing specific details about the raid; however, he confirmed the investigation process and reiterated his cooperation with federal authorities.

Teachers Association President Víctor Manuel Bonilla Sánchez, meanwhile, said of the raids on Education facilities that “[i]t is unfortunate that once again the reputation of the Department of Education is in question.”

“We do not know the information from this federal investigation, but what we are sure of is that at the end of the day those who suffer the consequences of these situations are our children and young people in the public education system,” Bonilla Sánchez said. “We must give the feds the space to continue investigating and when they express themselves and provide more information about this situation, we will be offering our position and opinion on the matter.”

The origin and details of the investigation are as yet unknown because it is sealed.

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