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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Mayoral candidate condemns alleged use of public campaign funds for creation of gardens



Erik Rolón

By The Star Staff


Following the public confirmation of the mayor of Dorado that the signs placed in his municipality to highlight his image are paid for with funds from his political committee, Erik Rolón, the New Progressive Party (NPP) candidate for Dorado mayor, criticized this week the use by current Mayor Carlos López Rivera of municipal resources to create and maintain gardens under those signs, which bear his photograph, name, municipal logos and colors alluding to his partisan political campaign.


“This practice, in addition to being inappropriate, raises serious concerns regarding the misuse of government resources to favor a specific candidate to the detriment of democratic fairness,” said Rolón, who was once a judge. “It is essential to highlight that this practice not only violates the principles of the use of public property, but also creates an environment of inequality and unfair competition that is unacceptable in the electoral process.”


The mayoral candidate urged López Rivera “to immediately put an end to this practice and to respect the regulations in force.”


“We also ask the mayor to remove all ads and signs linked to his political campaign that are violating the law, in compliance with the legal provisions. May he use that space to combat everyone’s problems equally in Dorado.”


“If this conduct persists in clear violation of the law and the wasting of public funds, we will be forced to take legal action and file a complaint with the Office of the Comptroller of Puerto Rico and other authorities,” Rolón added. “Impartiality and transparency in the democratic process are essential to preserving the integrity of the electoral system in the Municipality of Dorado.”


“At the same time, and even more so given a career of 37 years in the political and electoral arena, the mayor must know that campaign ads carry a series of requirements and approvals that are not observed in those accepted by him as political labels that are a product of his campaign committee,” the challenger continued. “The only logical interpretation is the entrenchment that leads him to a recurrent behavior of overreaching official power. As a citizen, it is only up to me to raise the issues that I understand to be incorrect so that the competent authorities can make their conclusions.”


As previously reported by the STAR, López Rivera reacted on Wednesday to media reports about an alleged complaint filed against him with the Electoral Comptroller’s office by another challenger for the mayor’s seat in Dorado, municipal assembly member Yamira Colón Rosa, who is running under the Citizen Victory Movement banner.


“Once again, the candidate of the Victoria Ciudadana party in Dorado makes statements and complaints without verifying whether the information is correct,” the mayor said. “In Dorado, we are responsible and all signs that had information or images that are prohibited by the electoral ban were removed. The signs to which Mrs. Colón refers are political propaganda paid for with funds from the Carlitos López Committee. In fact, the photo that she gave to the press, which is a photo of my family located at the entrances to the town, was paid for with funds from my campaign.”

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