The ambitions of two businessmen hired by municipalities to offer essential services – paving roads and collecting solid waste – and the unscrupulous fiber of at least seven mayors mingled together to form a nefarious network of corruption. and betrayed the faith that the people had accumulated. their elected officials.
These merchants and officials generally had a desire to enrich themselves with public goods and a clear contempt for the sacred privilege of serving the country. Each illegal act by these individuals represents a new attack that undermines the institutions that should be the pillars of our society: public service, politics in its broadest sense, and the private sector itself. All those who fail are eligible for the maximum penalty applicable in their respective cases.
It has been the turn of Jose Luis Cruz to surrender to the evidence, who, knowing of the illegalities committed, lying to the country and clinging to the Trujillo Alto mayor’s office for months, even that are not accountable even to their popular co-religionists. Municipal meeting. Thus, he kept the municipality in an operational limbo while he continued to collect his salary as mayor.
Since December, his special assistant, Radames Benítez Cardona, who was described as Cruz’s right-hand man, was arrested by federal authorities at his home. It remains to be seen whether he pleads guilty to engaging in a bribery pattern admitted by his former boss and to charges involving six former mayors and other municipal assistants. The allegations point to the fact that they received bribes from Oscar Santamaria and Raymond Rodriguez to fund their respective companies, Waste Collection and the hiring of JR Dahmer.
Like Cruz, many of these people have chosen to cooperate with federal officials. Felix Delgado, former mayor from Caetano; Luis Arroyo Chiques of Aguas Buenos and Eduardo Cintron Suárez of Guayama blamed municipalities for receiving exorbitant fees from merchants to make illegal payments.
The collaboration arises after being surrounded by investigations surrounding their decisions to break the law to fill their pockets. Earlier, they were involved in schemes that rob citizens of not only public money but quality services, especially due to dilapidated roads that cause a lot of headaches for the drivers. They also denied opportunities to genuine entrepreneurs to do legitimate business with a genuine commitment to improving people’s conditions.
The other accused of participating in the fraud scheme is the former mayor of Guayanabo, Angel Perez; Javier García Perez, also from Aguas Buenos; and Reynaldo Vargas, from Humacao. Everything indicates that this scam will continue to undermine municipal institutions. The federal prosecutor’s office has warned that mayors are pending to be caught or surrendered for participating in the plan. As the mayors have already mentioned, the two parties that share power on the island make up about 10% of previously municipal officials.
The political and legislative leadership has an obligation to close the doors that allow the moral weakness of other officials to erode public finances and, with it, the credibility of institutions. In this case, the door was open to corruption, which did not have to pass through the sieves of the municipal legislature. It needs to be closed. No transaction should be left outside the control of municipal legislatures, which are said to be a countermeasure to arbitrary and opportunistic decisions that cost the people.
These mayors and some of their allies, added to legislators convicted or accused of a more recent scheme of theft, bribery, bribery and wire fraud, have taken the climate of abuse and erosion of political leadership from the grassroots to a new and shameful level. . Municipality. Time has come to raise loud voice from all fronts and take action so that enough demand can be made!