The ousted mayor of Ponce will not fulfill his agreement with the PDP and refuses to resign

The ousted mayor of Ponce will not fulfill his agreement with the PDP and refuses to resign

Minutes before the end of the deadline set for him to adhere to the agreement reached with the People's Democratic Party, The suspended mayor of Ponce, Luis Irizarry Pabon, announced his innocence on Wednesday, and confirmed that he will not resign from his position or from running for re-election in the 2024 elections.

“I want to make it clear that I am not giving up! In the midst of this nonsense, there is no reason to leave my position and my candidacy.”

Immediately, PDP Secretary Gerardo “Tonito” Cruz reported in a press conference that the community would go to court to remove the Ponce leader from the PDP ballot.

Irizarry Baboon He was charged on October 31 with four counts of violating Section 4.2 of the Government Ethics Code and Section 251 of the Penal Code, for unjust enrichment.

The allegation against him was that he requested money from trusted managers and employees to repay a $50,000 personal loan he took out from Banco Popular, and set aside $30,000 for his 2020 election campaign. The man's whereabouts have yet to be determined. That is, $20,000, which, according to the testimony of the investigating agent, Miguel Fonseca, could have been used for expenses of the defendant's medical office.

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Last December, the accused mayor reached an institutional agreement with his community, the People's Democratic Party, whereby he would be allowed to look forward to the preliminary hearing against him on public corruption charges. However, such an agreement sets a deadline. It happened on this day, February 28th.

When Cruz was preparing to start the press conference to talk about Ponce's future, Irizarry Pabon issued public statements confirming that he would not abide by the agreement he signed with his party. Among other reasons, people allegedly asked for it.

Below is the full statement of the suspended mayor:

“In November 2020, the people of Ponce democratically elected me as their mayor with 62 percent (%) of the vote, winning all voting positions. Respecting the will of all my Poncenos brothers, I carried out the work against all odds.

As you know, I am facing a legal case brought to court by the Office of the Independent Special Prosecutor (OPFEI)! Everyone who knows me knows my integrity as a professional and humane person, and I am innocent!

In December 2023, I was called by our People's Democratic Party to broker an agreement whereby once the preliminary hearing of the case was held, if the result was negative against me, they could nominate me for re-election as mayor.

I present important data to consider:

• Rule 6 or reason hearing – the Ponce court judge asked for the process to continue in November 2023, but the FEI immediately indicated it would not be available until January 2024;

• January date notified.

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• The dates scheduled for January 21 and 22 have been postponed

• In light of the notice provided by the judge and court regarding the preliminary hearing, the attorneys requested that the assigned judge and court be changed in order to have a transparent process for everyone (employees who know me and other employees);

• The appointed judge is a relative of my former medical partner.

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• The wife of the designated judge was recommended for appointment as a judge by the lawyer who has now become the opposition party’s candidate

• Another judge was appointed, the same judge who immediately barred herself due to a conflict of interest.

Reasons for postponing the preliminary hearing

The agreements with the court, lawyers, and chamber, and the specific dates for next March, were set. All of these were situations beyond my control.

I am innocent! I am protected by the Constitution of Puerto Rico and the United States and my constitutional rights are being violated.

I have visited Ponce communities where they have welcomed me with joy and support. They tell me over and over again: Doctor, don't leave, we are with you!

For this and all the previous reasons I want to make it clear that I am not giving up! In the midst of this nonsense, there is no reason to abandon my position and candidacy.

This is your servant, Dr. Luis Manuel Irizarry Pabon, your mayor and approved candidate, here I stand and face you. Here I will continue to serve Ponce and my beloved Ponceus.

At Ponce we Poncenos decide!

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Louis M. “Irizarry Papon”

Aygen Marsh

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