The San Juan Daily Star
PDP lawmakers back bills that would create new anti-corruption office
By The Star Staff
Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Reps. Deborah Soto Arroyo, Ángel Fourquet Cordero and Juan José Santiago Nieves announced Wednesday their support for two bills that would repeal offices in charge of battling corruption and create a new anti-corruption office.
The bills were penned by PDP Rep. Héctor Ferrer Santiago, chairman of the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Committee of the House of Representatives, and would create the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Office.
“Today, we want to make public our full support for these measures by Ferrer since citizens have lost confidence in the entities in charge of ensuring compliance with the law,” said Soto Arroyo, who chairs the House Education Committee. “It is time to make significant changes.”
“For example, in the Department of Education we have seen how officials have failed the country’s trust, and the system has not been effective in the processes,” Soto Arroyo added. “We have to change those inefficient mechanisms and those layers of bureaucracy that promote impunity.”
Fourquet Cordero, who chairs the House Public Funds Oversight Committee, stressed that data collected from the agencies themselves revealed the duplicity, ineffectiveness, and expense represented by these entities empowered to oversee the proper use of public resources.
“The question we have to ask ourselves is whether it is worth it to have spent over the last 10 years $180 million in four offices that have proven to be inefficient,” Fourquet Cordero said.
Ferrer’s bills would repeal the Government Ethics Office, the Office of the Special Independent Prosecutor Panel, the Office of the Inspector General and several articles of the Law of the Department of Justice to create the Office of Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity.
Santiago Nieves, meanwhile, noted recent cases of mayors indicted in federal court for embezzlement of public funds due to the inaction of local agencies.
“The country has lost confidence in the local agencies fighting corruption,” said the chairman of the House Municipal Autonomy, Decentralization and Regionalization Committee. “We have to reduce bureaucracy as much as possible, establish greater efficiency and economy in the fight against government corruption, and compañero Ferrer’s measures are directed in that direction, which is why he has our support.”