Photo: Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images
Federal authorities in Puerto Rico released photos of the alleged mayor of Guaynabo, Ángel Pérez, receiving money from a municipality construction contractor, as part of the evidence after his arrest for corruption this Thursday.
A photograph that is part of a motion in the case against Pérez, of the New Progressive Party (PNP), allegedly shows the politician accepting what appears to be a bale of money as part of a bribe. Among the documents, it also highlights a check from the municipality paid to individual A on August 20 for $ 440,784.91.
Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested Pérez, also president of the Federation of Mayors of Puerto Rico, for alleged public corruption under three counts of conspiracy, bribery and extortion.
Pérez, who held the position of mayor since August 2017, was arrested at his home, according to the report by the Efe news agency.
The deputy mayor of Guaynabo, Luisa Colom García, indicated in a statement that the news had a great impact on them, while recalling that Pérez is assisted by the presumption of innocence.
“This situation that the mayor and his family are going through is extremely painful for all of us who have worked hard in this municipal administration and for the people of our town,” said the official.
Federals also arrest deputy mayor of Trujillo Alto
The agents of the The FBI also detained the vice mayor of Trujillo Alto, Radamés Benítez today, from the other majority party on the island, the Popular Democratic Party (PPD).
Mayor José Luis Cruz reacted surprised after the arrest of his special assistant.
“I am extremely surprised for what just happened. I deeply regret this situation, but corruption must be attacked no matter where it comes from, ”he said in written statements quoted by Primera Hora.
Cruz added that he ordered the summary suspension of Benítez.
Exactly a week ago, Félix “El Cano” Delgado, also from the PNP, resigned his position as mayor of Cataño, after pleading guilty to participating in a corruption scheme. “El Cano” Delgado admitted that he received cash payments in exchange for awarding contracts to a company.
Yesterday, the federal prosecutor’s office in Puerto Rico recommended a five-year prison sentence for the government contractor Oscar Santamaría Torres, for bribing Delgado.
Amid the uproar over corruption cases involving members of his party, the Governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, promised to fight corruption in public administration, although it did not specify how it will do it.
“This is unacceptable and I guarantee that I will continue to put all government resources to fight corruption and cooperate with federal authorities so that everyone who fails has to pay until the last consequences, “said the chief executive in a statement.
“Like everyone in Puerto Rico, I feel disappointed and extremely upset by the arrest (…) Faced with a federal accusation of corruption no affiliation or friendship is worthPierluisi added.
Pierluisi demanded that Pérez step down as mayor immediately, as well as the presidency of the Federation of Mayors.
“Here in Puerto Rico we all have to comply with the law, but in particular those of us who are in positions of public trust, we are called to abide by the highest standards of honesty, rectitude and integrity,” he said.