• The Star Staff

Governor mum on ADSEF case after acknowledging she spoke with witnesses

By Pedro Correa Henry

Twitter: @PCorreaHenry

Special to The Star

Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced declined to comment Wednesday on alleged obstruction of justice on her part in the supply mismanagement case from the Administration for Socioeconomic Development of the Family (ADSEF by its Spanish acronym) that was investigated by the island Justice Department (DOJ), which submitted a report to the Office of the Special Independent Prosecutor Panel (OPFEI by its Spanish initials).

As declarations by the governor in a radio interview were brought up during a press conference, Vázquez said she has no comments other than the ones she made on Tuesday.

She did say she was grateful for the support she has received through phone calls, text messages and social media posts.

“The statement that I can make at this moment, in response to the question, is that I have to give enormous thanks for all the words, [phone] calls and messages on social media networks; many people approached me and expressed their support,” the governor said. “But regarding what happened yesterday [Tuesday], in relation to the investigations, as you already know, the reports have been submitted to the OPFEI. I am not going to make more comments about any investigation other than those I made yesterday.”

In a radio interview on WKAQ 580 AM, the governor acknowledged speaking to people who have been under interrogation during the ADSEF investigation that led to the dismissal of former Family Secretary Glorimar Andujar. She also said she was surprised and hoped the OPFEI would vindicate itself in the case.

“I hope that, in this matter, the OPFEI vindicates itself, if I understand that it is still possible,” she said. “That they perform a responsible investigation of the people who have been interviewed and have told me: ‘Look, governor, if the prosecutors indicated that there was nothing, there was no investigation against the governor.’ So it surprises me -- particularly in an incident that they were referring to in an ADSEF investigation, where I had absolutely no involvement, none at all -- so it surprises me to see a report of this nature.”

As for allegedly ordering interim Justice Secretary Wandymar Burgos to stop an agent from handing in file reports to the OPFEI, Vázquez said she never gave such an order. Likewise, she stated that Burgos’ decision was not illegal or against the law, as she chose to do it because she was supposed to be notified of the reports. However, Vázquez said, if that was the correct decision, then it was not open to question.

“What I can say is that the secretary’s performance was neither illegal nor contrary to law. The explanations we heard were directed to her understanding that it was information that should have been reported to her before being turned in [to the OPFEI]. That was the secretary’s position,” the governor said. “That was the determination she chose as she believed that she was supposed to be notified. What I can respond to is that her performance was not illegal or contrary to law. Whether it was the right course or not, we are not going to go into that. As Justice secretary, I didn’t do it. In terms of that case, I do not have anything else to say.”

In response to Vázquez’s declarations, and revelations from former Justice Secretary Denisse Longo Quiñones, some citizens issued a call on social media for a rally on Resistencia Street (Calle de la Resistencia) on Wednesday evening to demand the governor’s resignation. People have used #WandaRenuncia on social media to invite others to march to hold the governor accountable for alleged acts of corruption.