• The San Juan Daily Star

House to send ethics report on CVM lawmaker to Justice Dept.

Citizen Victory Movement Rep. Mariana Nogales Molinelli

By The Star Staff

A day after Rep. Mariana Nogales Molinelli of the Citizen Victory Movement was sanctioned by the island House of Representatives for omitting information from her financial reports to the lower chamber, the Justice Department on Tuesday asked for the file in the case in order to conduct its own probe.

“At 9:45 a.m. through an email, we received a request for information from the Justice Department, seeking a certified copy of the ethical case against Mariana Nogales,” House Ethics Committee Chairman Ángel Matos García announced.

Matos García said he was going to forward the report to the agency.

On Monday night, the House unanimously approved an Ethics Committee report that recommended a fine of $2,000 and a public reprimand against Nogales Molinelli for omitting information in her yearly financial report.

“The Committee has recommended the sanctions based on the evaluation of the investigation and the analysis of the documents before it,” Matos García wrote in the report. “A sanction recommendation cannot be subject to whether it is a first, second or third offense. In response to a request from Nogales, the Committee in reconsideration determined that the recommended sanction be a public reprimand. However, the Committee believes a recommendation of a fine in the amount of $2,000 prevails.”

Nogales Molinelli has insisted that the omission was insignificant.

“The sanction recommended by the Ethics Committee is not proportional to the facts and the insignificance of the omission,” she said. “I also hope that you can see how matters of a private person are brought up to affect a public official and that all this could have been explained if I had been granted a hearing before the Ethics Committee. I accept, as I accepted from the beginning, that I made a mistake and I believe that the most appropriate sanction is a public reprimand. The fine seems disproportionate to us.”

Citizen Victory Movement Rep. José Bernardo Márquez voted in favor of the Ethics report recommendation.

“Now, it is my position that the Committee could not sit idly by given the fact that the representative acknowledges having omitted certain information that is relevant as regards the purpose and nature of a financial report,” he said. “From that perspective, I believe that the sanction is appropriate and will set a precedent for everyone in the Legislative Assembly regarding the implications that omissions such as these can carry.”

But Márquez added that he is not naive.

“It is clear to me that some people have gone out on a fishing expedition against the representative for political reasons,” he said. “However, acknowledging the fishing expedition against them and acknowledging the admitted ethical neglect are not mutually exclusive positions. My ministerial responsibility as a member of the committee and representative of this body is limited to the latter.”

17 views0 comments