• The San Juan Daily Star

House speaker cancels hearing citing fears that Rosselló appearance could spur violence

Speaker of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives Rafael Hernández Montañez

By The Star Staff

House Speaker Rafael “Tatito” Hernández Montañez announced Wednesday that he ordered the cancellation of a hearing slated for today in the island House of Representatives, in which former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares was slated to attend, for fear of violent incidents.

He said Rosselló will not attend a public hearing aimed at investigating the disbursement of public funds to finance the congressional shadow delegates, a group of individuals elected to serve as statehood lobbyists on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Rosselló resigned as governor in 2019 amid protests over his participation in a chat containing derogatory remarks against various sectors, including members of his own New Progressive Party.

Nonetheless, Rosselló was elected as a shadow representative in a vote in May as a write-in candidate.

“In this investigative process, his summoning has provoked a collective outrage with which we sympathize,” Hernández Montañez said. “The country still remembers with pain and frustration his tenure as governor and his shameful resignation during the summer of 2019.”

The House of Representatives, the speaker said, will not allow Rosselló to use his appearance before a committee to try to obfuscate his disastrous record as governor, which represented a 100-year delay to statehood as a status formula, compromised federal funds for education and health, and caused the loss of important allies that Puerto Ricans had cultivated for years in Washington, D.C.

The chairman of the House Federal, International, Status and Veteran Relations Committee, Kebin Maldonado Martiz, said several witnesses had declined to participate in the hearing for fear that Rosselló’s presence would lead to violent acts.

“We have been notified that other witnesses have refused to participate for fear that their presence could cause violent incidents that compromise the safety and integrity of employees, officials, and citizens who visit the Capitol facilities on a daily basis,” he said.

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