• The San Juan Daily Star

No mayoral election in Cataño to be held as NPP on track to certify Alicea

By John McPhaul

Former Automobile Accident Compensation Administrator Julio Alicea will be certified and sworn in as mayor of Cataño after the New Progressive Party (NPP) board of directors disqualified the interim mayor, Gabriel Sicardó Ocasio, NPP President Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia announced Sunday.

“We believe that it does not comply with our regulations for the evaluation of candidates,” Pierluisi said of Sicardó Ocasio’s candidacy at the conclusion of a meeting of the NPP board. “We made this decision in defense of the party. We believe that he is not an ideal candidate for mayor of Cataño. We believe that he could not stand up to the public scrutiny that comes with a candidacy like that. And in the best interests of the New Progressive Party, as well as the town of Cataño, we decided not to clear the way for that candidacy.”

“The feeling of the Board is, given that we only had two candidates, one, Julio Alicea, has been endorsed by the board. The other, Gabriel Sicardó Ocasio, was not endorsed by the board,” the governor added. “The decision is practically unanimous. The only reason it was not unanimous was because someone had to present Sicardó Ocasio to the board, and that person did not vote against his candidacy, but practically everyone [else] voted against his candidacy. There were a couple of abstentions for personal reasons, but the board’s decision was practically unanimous.”

Orocovis Mayor Edgardo Colón Berlingeri presented the candidacy of Sicardó Ocasio, who can appeal the decision to the courts.

Sicardó Ocasio was previously endorsed by the NPP Evaluation Committee to run in the special election occasioned by the guilty plea of former mayor Félix Delgado Montalvo. Bayamón Mayor Ramón Luis Rivera Cruz proposed that for the future, the group in charge of certifying the applicants in the first place have better tools for conducting the screening.

“In the same way that when a person aspires to be a judge, they do a complete investigation from top to bottom; they go to the environment where that person has been working or acting and they even take psychological tests,” Rivera Cruz said. “Well, apply this type of research in the future to those candidates who want to run for an elected position.”

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