Hours before the president of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), Héctor Ferrer, reports on Monday before the Governing Board, he will do the same with the 16 lawmakers of the popular minority. Of that group, six belong to the PPD governing board.
Yesterday, the representative Rafael "Tatito" Hernandez - popular House spokesman - said that, at the beginning of the week, Ferrer was asked to convene the Legislative Conference to discuss the public statements about the work he did for the DCI Group.
"He was asked, and he (Ferrer) included it in his agenda," explained Hernández in an interview.
The Legislative Conference will be held on Monday, at 9:00 a.m., at the PPD headquarters, in Puerta de Tierra. The conclave coincides with the beginning of the legislative session. The meeting of the Governing Board is scheduled for 6:00 p.m., in the same place.
Hernández stressed that the only issue that will be discussed will be the works on "legal matters" that Ferrer did for the public relations and lobbying company DCI Group. The firm lobbied in favor of bondholders of the government of Puerto Rico, and carried out, in the United States, a campaign against the administration of former Governor Alejandro García Padilla, who decided not to pay the debt.
Former Senator Roberto Prats - who is a PPD Governing Board member, lobbyist, and aspires to run for governor in 2020 - also worked for the DCI Group. Both Prats and Ferrer have said that the management with that firm was limited to "legal memoranda". Both have denied having been linked to the negotiations with bondholders.
Prats would assist
Ferrer left the door open to inviting Prats to the meeting of the Legislative Conference.
"They have not asked me that Roberto is there, but if they ask, I'll talk to him. But they have not asked for it," he reiterated to El Nuevo Día's questions.
Prats confirmed that they have not summoned him. "But if they want me there, I'll be there," he said.
Representative Luis Raul Torres said that the lawmakers’ meeting was requested by his colleague Lydia Méndez.
"I supported her because we are active lawmakers, and we are the ones who face the oversight and the defense of PPD positions, and we understand that it is fair and reasonable that we also know the explanation directly from the people involved in this public controversy," said the legislator.
"DCI has been identified as lobbyist of vulture bondholders in terms of public debt, and the position of the Popular Party - consistent and approved by the governing bodies- is that the debt must be, firstly, audited to determine which part is legitimate, can be paid and which should be challenged," he added.
Torres also stressed that the PPD has established that the debt is unpayable. "And no member of the PPD should defend the exclusive positions of groups of bondholders, and that should be clarified," he said.
Hernandez, meanwhile, rejected that the meeting of the Legislative Conference intends to secure the opinions of lawmakers ahead of the meeting that the Governing Board will hold.
"There are two different (meetings). The Legislative Conference does not have any influence on the Governing Board beyond its members," he stressed.
He specified that, in addition to him, Senators Eduardo Bhatia and Rossana López, and representatives Brenda López de Arrarás, Ramón Luis Cruz and Luis Vega Ramos, are members of the PPD governing body.
Ferrer also ruled out that the meeting with the legislators will serve to pave the way for the meeting with the governing body of La Pava.
He emphasized that he did not request to meet with lawmakers to discuss the dispute with DCI. "I am granting the Legislative Conference, and I do not have any agenda. The agenda is theirs," he said.
On the meeting with the members of the Governing Board, he said: "I go with my head held high and with a clear conscience, as I have always done."
He anticipated that other issues unrelated to the DCI controversy will be discussed, "and then there will be controversy".
Yesterday, the mayor of Caguas, William Miranda Torres, who is a member of the Governing Board, said through social networks that the discussion should be "calm and frank". "The Puerto Rican agenda has to go above personal interests and ambitions," he said.
Meanwhile, former Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, who has been one of the most vocal in demanding answers to both Ferrer and Prats, yesterday, told this newspaper that he is not afraid that his public complaint will affect him because of his work as a lobbyist since he does not hold an elective office. "No way. I have refused to represent bondholders," he said.
"Does anyone think that this, the DCI, would not have come out in 2020? If you are doing business with the enemy, you know that at some point it will come out. If the party - as an institution - does not see any problem in that relationship of two important leaders with DCI, at the time it occurred, well, the party is defining itself in a way. That is not the party I was part of . That is something else," he said.
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