Senate president sues governor over top SEC post
By The Star Staff
Senate President José Luis Dalmau Santiago announced on Sunday that he has sued Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia, the alternate chairperson of the State Election Commission (SEC), Judge Jessika Padilla, and the SEC itself over the refusal of the governor to submit new appointments, which the upper chamber leader said ensures that the alternate chairperson of the SEC holds her position indefinitely, without having been appointed or confirmed for that position, in clear violation of the Constitution and the decisions of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico.
“Today, the Senate of Puerto Rico begins legal proceedings against Governor Pedro Pierluisi to assert our constitutional prerogatives,” the Senate president said in a written statement. “The governor, once again, intends to usurp constitutional powers reserved for legislative bodies by refusing to submit proprietary appointments, with the clear attempt to retain indefinite interim terms in clear violation of the Constitution and the decisions of the Supreme Court itself. In this new attempt, Governor Pierluisi intends to leave the alternate chairperson of the SEC indefinitely in a position for which she has neither been appointed nor confirmed.”
Dalmau Santiago said “the chief executive tries to incorrectly apply the Supreme Court’s decision on the expiration of terms, when in this particular case, it is a vacancy that must be filled in accordance with our constitutional order.”
“For these purposes, the Senate today appealed to the Court with an appeal for Mandamus, Declaratory Sentence and Preliminary and Permanent Injunction against the governor and the alternate chairperson of the SEC,” Dalmau Santiago said.
“In this case, the alternate chairperson of the SEC cannot hold the position of chair indefinitely, because here it is not an interim term resulting from the expiration of an established term or a temporary replacement, it is a vacancy resulting from of a voluntary resignation that must be filled as provided in the Electoral Code,” he added.