Varela questions absence of SEC official from House hearing
By The Star Staff
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives José “Conny” Varela Fernández condemned the absence of State Elections Commission (SEC) Alternate Chairwoman Jessika Padilla Rivera from a public hearing in which the budgetary situation of the SEC would be discussed, along with its possible effects on the upcoming election events.
The House Electoral Affairs Commission, chaired by Rep. Varela, summoned SEC Chairman Francisco Rosado Colomer in accordance with House Resolution 734, after statements made by Rosado Colomer on the economic condition of the SEC were made public.
The SEC chairman had indicated, among other things, that he had not been approved for funds to carry out primaries (scheduled for June 2024), or sufficient resources for the programming and maintenance of electronic vote-counting machines.
“Our committee summoned the chairman of the SEC more than a week ago; when he received the summons, Rosado Colomer had the courtesy to contact me and tell me that he could not attend due to commitments outside of Puerto Rico, but that his alternate chairperson, Padilla Rivera, would appear in his place,” Varela said. “Now, Padilla Rivera is absent from the hearing, claiming that she is not prepared to discuss the economic issues of the SEC.”
“If the alternate chairperson, who by law becomes chair of the SEC in case of absence of the chairman, and who does not have additional functions other than that, is not prepared to be accountable for the economic condition of the commission, then it must be questioned,” the lawmaker added.