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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Governor: SEC alternate chair will continue in her functions

Jessika Padilla Rivera, alternate chairwoman of the State Elections Commission

By The Star Staff

Despite the fact that Senate President José Luis Dalmau Santiago reportedly said the alternate chairwoman of the State Elections Commission (SEC), Jessika Padilla Rivera, had to be confirmed before the end of the day Tuesday or else she would have to cease her functions, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said the judge will continue exercising the powers as SEC chair.

“The court will have to decide the matter,” the governor said in response to questions from the press late Tuesday. “I believe that Judge Padilla is not … acting as an interim president. That concept doesn’t apply to her. She is an alternate president exercising the functions of president, in view of the fact that there is a vacancy, and I have never ruled out filling that vacancy.”

“What’s more, it’s clear that I’ve tried to fill that vacancy twice, so I don’t rule out trying again at some point in the future,” Pierluisi added.

On Oct. 27, Judge Alfonso Martínez Piovanetti held that Padilla Rivera could remain in office until Nov. 14, the last day of the ordinary session.

Dalmau Santiago sued the governor and the alternate SEC chairwoman on the grounds that the governor’s refusal to submit new appointments seeks to ensure that the alternate chair occupies the position indefinitely, without having been appointed or confirmed, in clear violation of the island Constitution and decisions of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court.

Martínez Piovanetti dismissed the lawsuit.

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