By The Star Staff
Popular Democratic Party Reps. Edgardo Feliciano Sánchez, Juan José Santiago Nieves and Orlando José Aponte Rosario announced on Thursday that the Committee on Public Safety, Science and Technology of the island House of Representatives will begin an investigation into what they consider to be excessive spending on bodyguards by current and former public officials.
“On January 18, 2022, we made a request for information to the Police Commissioner, Antonio López Figueroa, who, after giving him an extension to deliver the requested documentation, only provided incomplete information that intentionally omitted what was spent by the governor of Puerto Rico Pedro Pierluisi during the past year,” Feliciano Sánchez said in a written statement. “It is curious that the information provided is general and does not contain details, which could be interpreted as a clear obstruction of the legislative function by the Department of Public Safety.”
The District 12 legislator said the House of Representatives will be summoning in the coming days Public Safety Secretary Alexis Torres, López Figueroa, the head of the governor’s security detail and the director of security and protection at the Police Bureau.
“These officials will have to explain to the country what the need is to spend millions of dollars in overtime on escorts when in the barracks, sometimes, there are no police officers to patrol the streets,” Santiago Nieves said. “Information has reached us that people close to the governor are using escorts and official vehicles without being authorized. Pierluisi’s bodyguard and the police commissioner have a lot to answer for to the country and we will not rest until we know the whole truth.”
Among the highest expense accounts for bodyguards is that of Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón, with a total of $189,334; followed by López Figueroa, with $182,272; former Gov. Alejandro García Padilla, with $145,695; former Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced, with $129,102; and former Gov. Luis Fortuño, with $109,789.
“It is outrageous that the people of Puerto Rico spend thousands of dollars on bodyguards for former governors when we have a fiscal and security crisis,” Aponte Rosario said. “We do not rule out citing these former officials before the committee so that they can justify to the people the need and relevance of their escorts.”