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At a time when the Department of Public Security (DSP) and the Police Bureau do not know what to do with the colonel Roberto Rivera Miranda, who decided to aspire to political office without notifying his superiors, the secretary of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), Gerardo “Tonito” Cruzrequested this Tuesday the removal of the uniformed man “immediately.”
According to Cruz, the current director of the Uniformed Auxiliary Superintendency of Criminal Investigations must be removed so that the organic law of the secretariat is complied with, which prohibits the participation of a uniformed person in partisan politics.
The Secretary General stated, in written statements, that Article 2.19(a) of the Law of the Department of Public Security, adopted in 2017, “prohibits a member of the Police from making propaganda or any other action for or against any political party or candidate for public or political office, while they are in service or in uniform.”
“Police officers in Puerto Rico have been considered as such and on duty 24 hours a day, whether they wear the uniform or not”he added.
Last week it was learned that Rivera Miranda would be part of the representative’s slate of municipal legislators Jose “Memo” Gonzalez, of the New Progressive Party (PNP), who aspires to be mayor of Arecibo. The colonel, however, did not notify his superiors of his intention of accessing an elective position.
“If Colonel Rivera Miranda wants to engage in active politics and decided to actively enter partisan politics, he has to comply with the law and immediately leave his positions. The law that covers the Police Bureau prohibits the incursion of members of the police force into partisan politics while they are active in the police, therefore the colonel must be removed from his positions, request leave or resign,” Cruz stated.
Waiting for the opinion of Justice
The new day He requested and awaits an interview with the Police Commissioner, Antonio Lopezwho He learned of the colonel’s aspiration from the press. Meanwhile, the DSP secretary, Alexis Torres, reported that it requested this Tuesday from the Department of Justice a consultation on the colonel’s situation on the recommendation of the director of the Office of Government Ethics (OEG). Rivera Miranda, due to the position he occupies, maintains high exposure in the media.
“In the meantime, the commissioner continues the investigative work of the Police Bureau,” said Torres, who agreed with the statements of Miguel Candelariodirector of the Legal Division of the DSP, in the sense that, in this case, Justice must analyze the Constitution, the Electoral Code and the organic law of the agency.
Article 7.2 of the Electoral Code, section c, establishes that “any applicant or candidate for elective office who serves as head, appointing authority, or regional director of an agency, department, government agency, or public corporation in the Executive Branch, including any secretary, advisor, or official who occupies a position of trust.” who formulates public policy assigned to the Office of the Governor, except the Governor, must present his resignation from said position 30 days before presenting his candidacy or intention to run for an elective public position to the Commission.
The statute has been questioned on multiple occasions for its vagueness. Rivera Miranda occupies a position of trust and, for all intents and purposes, is an assistant commissioner of the Police, so he is continually in the media offering information on police events.
Candelario stated “that this is a situation where you have implications that must be addressed, in our opinion, by the Department of Justice, so that it officially establishes what is binding, because a legal opinion from us cannot be binding.”
Torres revealed that he communicated directly with the Secretary of Justice, Sunday Emanuelli.
“You cannot take away his political decision”
Asked why not remove the colonel from his position as a precautionary measure, Torres maintained that every citizen is assisted by the Constitution.
“The reality of life is that no citizen can be taken away from their political decision and, beyond this, the results that are being obtained based on the work plans, if we look at them daily, which although One murder is a lot, today we are down to 111 murders. And he is an integral part of that operational plan of the Puerto Rico Police Bureau,” stated the DSP secretary.
Regarding the fact that Rivera Miranda did not inform the Commissioner of the Uniformed of his decision before it was made public, the official stated that “I start from the premise that it is a personal decision that obviously he had to evaluate at a given moment and Even so, over the course of his 38 years, including the current position of assistant commissioner, he has never deviated from what is the angle of his responsibilities as a law and order officer in Puerto Rico.”
Torres rejected that his expressions could be interpreted as being in favor of the colonel.
Can Rivera Miranda’s tasks in the Police be viable with his aspiration for an elective position? he asked. The new day.
“I can say that he intends to be a pre-candidate… and I can evaluate his performance during the past 38 years, where, responsibly, we have not only had positive results for the people of Puerto Rico, but he has never crossed “no type of stripe when he is in uniform during his work hours,” he responded.
Cruz, for his part, urged the governor Pedro Pierluisi to express yourself.
“Governor Pedro Pierluisi being the supreme authority of the direction of the Department of Public Security, it is his responsibility to express to what level of politicization under his administration the Puerto Rico Police will fall again, if, as on other occasions, he lets things happen” , indicated the general secretary of the PPD.
The politician, as well as the undersecretary of the PPD, Yaramary Torres, warned that if the colonel’s removal is not carried out, the law is deliberately violated.
“With this appointment to his group of legislators, the PNP candidate demonstrates his willingness to ignore and even violate existing laws and regulations, including those that govern the honorable body of the Police. One will be as an official, as he was as a candidate. “He who starts badly, ends badly,” Torres predicted.