• The San Juan Daily Star

House speaker dismisses Public Safety Committee chairman

By John McPhaul

Speaker of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives Rafael “Tatito” Hernández Montañez relieved Rep. Ramón Luis Cruz Burgos of the chairmanship of the Public Safety, Science and Technology Committee on Thursday.

Hernández Montañez made this decision known by means of a letter addressed to the lawmaker, who is the current secretary general of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP), after a struggle broke out in recent days among legislators over changes that the lower chamber leader had instructed in the Joint Committee on Special Reports of the Comptroller, which Cruz Burgos also directed.

In the absence of the budget in the House, the House leader had instructed that the joint committee be reconfigured and that the committee’s funds be used to contract resources for the legislative body. Cruz Burgos objected because, he said, he believed that the committee’s funds do not come from the House, but from the government’s general fund.

“During the last legislative session, I notified the members of the House of Representatives that, pursuant to subsection (d) of Article 5.2 of the Regulations governing the operation of this Body, I authorized a reconfiguration of the Joint Committee on Special Reports of the Comptroller,” Hernández Montañez wrote in the letter. “Specifically, this determination is consistent with Section 1 of Act No. 83 of June 23, 1954, as amended, which establishes that it corresponds to the [leaders] of the Legislative Bodies to designate the members of this Joint Committee. Surprisingly, yesterday [Wednesday], you sent a communication addressed to the members of our delegation, where you question this determination, by means of false information, an erroneous interpretation of the law and a doctrinal confusion about the current state of law.”

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