The San Juan Daily Star
Special prosecutor panel includes mother of lawmaker in hearing slated for next week
By John McPhaul
Office of the Special Independent Prosecutor Panel (OPFEI by its Spanish initials) President Nydia Cotto Vives confirmed Wednesday that the office has included the mother of Rep. Mariana Nogales Molinelli, along with one of the corporations involved in a complaint referred by the island Justice Department, in a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, May 3.
“Charges are going to be filed against a natural person and a legal entity,” Cotto Vives said in a radio interview.
The official noted that after a preliminary investigation by the Justice Department, prosecutors Ramón Mendoza and Miguel Colón were assigned to thoroughly investigate the complaints against the Citizens Victory Movement legislator. The charges will not only be for the initial complaints, but also for other elements found during the investigation, Cotto Vives said.
The OPFEI president also rejected statements made by Nogales Molinelli, who called the matter a hoax, ensuring that legal representation was notified each time an extension was granted to prosecutors.
“Truly, this irresponsibility of attacking oversight institutions no longer has limits,” Cotto Vives said. “The panel does not initiate investigations. This investigation was initiated before the Department of Justice with complaints from both the Government Ethics Office and two senators [Thomas Rivera Schatz and Gregorio Matías of the New Progressive Party].”
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia weighed in on Wednesday saying “[t]he justice system has to be the same for everyone, particularly elected officials, government officials.”
“Here what party they are from must be irrelevant and, likewise, what their ideological positions are, none of that is relevant,” the governor said. “The important thing is that they comply with the law. We are talking about the Government Ethics Act and other provisions of the Penal Code. We’ll see what the court decides.”
“Without getting ahead of the facts, what I have seen is that the entities have fulfilled their mission,” he added. “I speak of the Department of Justice at the level of the preliminary investigation and the FEI panel at the level of appointing independent special prosecutors.”