NPP supporters among candidates for judgeships in document released by La Fortaleza
By Pedro Correa Henry
Special to The Star
A list from the Office of Judicial Appointments released on Tuesday showed that various New Progressive Party (NPP) supporters, including former and current agency secretaries and family members of NPP politicians, requested to become judges back in February.
At an interview with WAPA Televisión, Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced said that it is mandatory to submit the aforementioned list to the public as it lets people comment on issues involving any of the applicants. She added that the applicants have not been nominated.
“It’s very important for people to understand that the list released has candidates from all political parties for every position,” the governor said. “It’s mandated by the law to release the list so any person who wants to comment about any of the candidates should do so at the Office of Judicial Appointments. It doesn’t mean that every candidate [on the list] will end up appointed.”
One of the candidates that appeared on the list was former Justice Secretary Wandymar Burgos Vargas, who resigned after pulling back reports from the Special Independent Prosecutor Panel (PFEI by its Spanish initials) that pointed at the governor for alleged obstruction of justice in the supply mismanagement case involving the Family Socioeconomic Development Administration (ADSEF by its Spanish acronym) in Ponce. Meanwhile, another candidate on the list is former Family Secretary Glorimar Andujar Matos, who was dismissed from her position on Jan. 19 for not being aware of the status of warehouses that supplied items for the victims of the earthquakes in the southwestern part of the island, although a leaked PFEI report said the governor fired her for reporting former ADSEF administrator Surima Quiñones, who helped NPP Sen. Evelyn Vázquez Nieves hand out supplies from the agency.
“I want the people to rest assured that I, as a lawyer, as a prosecutor, as [former] Justice secretary, as [former] women’s advocate, I will look for the best resources,” the governor said. “I want the judicial branch and the government, when it comes to prosecutors, to have the most competent professionals. It makes it difficult because I am the one who has to do the analysis.”
According to the document, Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Eduardo Rivera Juanatey also requested a position in the San Juan Superior Court. Ana Mateu Meléndez, meanwhile, an adviser at La Fortaleza and daughter of Ponce Mayor María “Mayita” Meléndez, appeared as a candidate for a position in the Aguadilla Superior Court, while Roger Iglesias Sepúlveda, son of former NPP Sen. Roger Iglesias, is a candidate for the Trujillo Alto Superior Court.