By The Star Staff
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia, the New Progressive Party (NPP) president, said Monday that all allegations of phony endorsements must be investigated.
“What happens when they talk to me about fraudulent endorsements or false endorsements, those are big words. There, the person who processed the endorsement did an improper act that can lead to criminal liability,” the governor said in response to questions from the press. “So, what I have seen that the [State Elections] Commission has done, is that when it detects that one of the people, one of the endorsement processors, has acted improperly, it disqualifies them.”
“The other thing is that they make referrals -- either you can file a complaint with the police or you can make a referral to Justice -- and I saw that made in terms of the fraudulent or false endorsement that surrounds the widow of former governor Rafael Hernández Colón. In this case, I understand that it was already referred to the police. And we’ll see if Justice also comes into it. If there is any other situation of false or fraudulent endorsement, that must be investigated; that is, whoever it is, and it must be seen. The worst thing would be for the pre-candidate to have something to do with the matter. Now that would be big news. If at the level of a processor, that processor acted badly, that’s one thing. Another thing is that the candidate or his campaign manager or something like that has something to do with it. … Everyone who is behind any false or fraudulent endorsement has to answer for it.”
The governor’s remarks were in response to the latest public denunciation of a false endorsement given to NPP resident commissioner hopeful William Villafañe Ramos.
Villafañe on Monday rejected alleged irregularities in the collection of endorsements.
“In light of the recent informal allegation on social media about an endorsement, we immediately investigated. No irregularity was found on the part of our campaign,” Villafañe said in a written statement. The endorsement was validated and was never rejected. We emphasize that the campaign had more than 700 [endorsement] collectors and that it has been certified for more than five weeks. In December, we were the only campaign that carried out over 200 street endorsement collection activities.”