The Supreme Court puts an end to Guánica’s ‘enrollment candidate’ ambitions

The story of the election of the mayor of Guánica came to an end after the ruling of the Court, which stayed Ismael “Titi” Rodríguez Ramos, from People’s Democratic Party, as councilor, prevail in the High Council with a tie 4-4.

On March 3, a panel of the Court of Appeal had the adoption of the Court of First Instance which, in short, concluded that the State Election Commission (CEE), after a census he carried out between 14 and 15 January, the petitioner added by direct nomination Edgardo Cruz Velez 38 votes previously assigned.

Cruz Vélez stated in the appeals he filed before both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court that the higher court Rebecca De Leon Rios It was wrong to resolve by summary judgment Rodríguez Ramos’ claim that, on the basis of the EEC minutes, the double counting of the 38 ballots was unambiguously clear.

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However, the group of four judges in favor of the appeal’s ruling concluded that there were no actual controversies that prevented Judge De León Ríos from resolving based on the evidence considered before her.

“While no hearing as such has taken place, the truth is that the parties had the opportunity to present to the court all evidence in their power to prove their allegations, some parties not, some not,” he said. opinion of conformity. by the examining magistrate Angel Colon Perez, which was accompanied by the magistrates Rafael Martinez Torres Roberto Feliberti Cintron and the chairman, Maite Oronoz Rodríguez

While the President of the EEC may be suspicious that the acts denounced – and discussed during the early hours of January 15, 2021 – were reportedly not in their suitcase, it is more alarming to us that all the evidence of crime ignored. it follows – as shown in the appendices to which the findings of facts of the primary forum allude – that the said votes had already been counted, assessed and added in the preliminary report of December 21, 2021, “adds the letter.

The possibility of ties in the Supreme Court has been a constant since the judge’s retirement on December 24 Anabelle Rodriguez Rodriguez, whose vacancy has not yet been filled by the governor Pedro Pierluisi

The former governor arrived at the end of last year Wanda Vazquez nominated to the court of appeal Maritere Brignoni for the seat in the Supreme, but withdrew the designation when the Senate of a new progressive majority was preparing to defeat the nomination.

In a dissenting opinion of the examining magistrate Luis Estrella Martinezsigned by your colleagues Mildred Pabón Charneco Y Erick Kolthoff Caraballoit is claimed that “as the ultimate safeguard of citizenship’s confidence in democracy, this Court had a duty to promote a categorical answer to that question, which could only be achieved if we took the view of the Court of First Instance turn around for a light verdict of this controversy by summary judgment ”.

By upholding the rulings of the primary forum and the Appeal and refusing a hearing of evidence, Estrella Martínez said, the Supreme Court “gave precedence to a series of tables and incomplete minutes over the will of the electorate.”

Today the fringe broke in favor of rigorism and formalism has mortally wounded democracy in Guánica. This, therefore without a doubt, the resolution of the matter by means of summary proceedings, as a matter of law, was not in favor of Mr. Rodríguez Ramos and did not strike a sufficient balance between the fair settlement of this controversy and the law. of the challenging party to have their day in court, ”added Estrella Martínez.

The associate judge Edgardo Rivera Garcia it also disagreed with the final judgment, stating that “it would have appealed and found that a hearing on the merits before the Court of First Instance was appropriate.”

By subtracting Cruz Vélez’s 38 votes, Rodríguez Ramos won with 2,384 votes, for an advantage of just 11 over the ex-army. The recount held in January, which at the time gave him the advantage, was the product of an earlier Supreme Court ruling that Cruz Vélez had to get votes even if the voter ticked the box in the nomination column directly.