Lawmaker refers himself to House ethics panel over his office’s alleged call to ASG about a contract
By The Star Staff
New Progressive Party Rep. Gabriel Rodríguez Aguiló announced late last week that he had referred himself to the House Ethics Committee and said he would ask the Justice Department to investigate General Services Administration (ASG by its Spanish initials) head Karla Mercado Rivera and her office employees.
Mercado Rivera recently said she received a call from Rodríguez Aguiló’s office at the ASG to obtain a contract for an unidentified private asphalt company.
The official did not identify the company in question, but said it offers “asphalt” services, which was later denied by the legislator.
“Personnel from the office of representative Rodríguez Aguiló called trust staff trying to hire a particular company,” Mercado said in a radio interview with WKAQ 580. “Certainly, the act, in itself, is not an illegal act, but yes, in competitive processes it diminishes transparency,” she added.
Rodríguez Aguilo said Friday that he asked the House of Representatives to immediately begin an investigation and that it be transparent with all the employees of his office. “Not [only] with the one that has been mentioned, with everyone,” he said at a press conference. “I am not going to allow anyone to tarnish my name and my work and now an investigation is going to come and they will take sworn statements and they will take me. Because she said at one point that I had made calls to ASG. That is false.”
“From the conversations I have with the House speaker, if necessary, I will make a referral to the Department of Justice so that they come and investigate this matter,” the legislator added. “So that they take sworn statements from her and her work team.”
Rodríguez Aguiló said further that, as part of the process, his Legislative Office will stop contacting agency offices to seek solutions for requests from his constituents.
“I gave instructions to all my employees and I apologize and seek leniency from all my constituents; we are not going to take any concern to any agency of the government of Puerto Rico until this is all clarified,” he said. “When this is cleared up, [and] I know what the result is going to be, we will continue with the work in this district office.”