Rosselló certified & sworn in as congressional delegate

By Pedro Correa Henry

Twitter: @pete_r_correa

Special to The Star

Former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares was sworn in Wednesday as a congressional delegate to the United States House of Representatives.

The swearing-in ceremony was performed by a notary public at the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration in Washington, D.C.

During a Facebook Live stream relayed from various local media outlets, Rosselló, along with his wife Beatriz and their two children, took an oath to work full time for the duration of his term of office to demand that Puerto Rico become a state of the union.

He also swore to “uphold the mandate that the people of Puerto Rico expressed at the polls last November 3, 2020.”

The ceremony, first reported on the island by news outlet Noticel, came as the commonwealth Court of Appeals, although allowing the State Elections Commission (SEC), in a ruling Tuesday, to certify Rosselló as a statehood lobbyist, has yet to rule on the legal petition filed the same day to repeal the earlier determination by San Juan Superior Court Judge Rebecca de León, who ruled in favor of Dignity Project electoral commissioner Nelson Rosario.

Rosario is seeking to disqualify the ex-governor’s write-in candidacy for the statehood delegate post based on residency requirements.

SEC Chairman Francisco Rosado Colomer confirmed Wednesday that Rosselló was certified as a congressional delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Telemundo revealed that Rosselló was certified based on written statements authorized by New Progressive Party (NPP) Electoral Commissioner Vanessa Santo Domingo Cruz and Acting Commissioner Edwin Mundo Ríos.

“In view of the determination of the Court of Appeals regarding the suspension of the certification of the Congressional Delegate, Ricardo Rosselló Nevares, the State Elections Commission (SEC) issued said certification,” the NPP officials stated. “Therefore, the democratic right of each voter who participated in the elections of May 16 [to choose the congressional delegates] was asserted.”

“The New Progressive Party … will continue to defend our voters’ right to vote,” the NPP commissioners added. “With our congressional delegates completed, we remain firm on achieving statehood [for Puerto Rico].”

Prior to the news that Rosselló had been sworn in, the STAR asked when the former governor was going to commence his duties as a House delegate. Rosado Colomer told the newspaper that he had to be sworn in first.

“The swearing-in for the position has to be witnessed by a notary public, and it doesn’t have to be in Puerto Rico,” the SEC chairman said.

Rosselló’s certification came after the Court of Appeals determined on Tuesday that the SEC could continue with the certification process after the court had established that Rosario’s legal petition was yet to be ruled on based on its merits.

Earlier in the day, the Puerto Rico Supreme Court refused to address a legal petition filed Tuesday by attorney Roxanna Soto Aguilú requesting that the high court hear the case on the disqualification of Rosselló as a congressional delegate, and left it in the hands of the Court of Appeals.

In her dissent from the Supreme Court’s ruling, Associate Justice Estrella Martínez wrote that she would “certify the controversy.”

“First, because it is a controversy of high public interest that merits providing certainty as to who really meets all the requirements set forth in the law,” she wrote.

“No less important, it is unwise for the Court of Appeals to have rushed to grant the jurisdictional relief, especially when it lacks legal grounds,” Martínez added. “Instead, it should have first resolved the controversy on the merits.”

At press time, Rosario, the Dignity Project electoral commissioner, had filed a legal petition at the Court of Appeals to override the court’s ruling.

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