The legislature of Puerto Rico indicated they are ‘ready’ to begin impeachment proceedings against Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.
This decision comes after attorneys, hired by the president of Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives, Carlos Méndez Núñez, found five impeachable offenses.
One lawyer, Enrique Colón, said: ‘We conclude that indeed our recommendation to the body that corresponds to it, is that we proceed with the government trial that is the presentation of an accusation document so that the proceedings continue in the corresponding Chamber, which is the Senate of Puerto Rico.’
The other lawyers were Francisco Reyes and Luis Rodríguez.
If this process begins and occurs successfully, he will be the first impeached governor in a US commonwealth or territory.
People of Puerto Rico demanding resignation
For 12 days, people in the US territory have protested Rosselló and demanded his resignation.
This all began when the Center for Investigative Journalism leaked 889 pages of private chat messages on a platform called Telegram between Rosselló and other men.
Throughout the thousands of messages, the men discuss other politicians, celebrities, as well as various government departments and policies in vulgar terms.
In one message, Rosselló called former New York City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito a ‘whore’. He also made references to Ricky Martin’s sexuality using homophobic slurs.
Martin joined his fellow Puerto Ricans for the protests.
These demonstrations and the people’s anger come on the heels of Hurricane Maria and the arrests of former officials over fraud involving federal funding.
Méndez acknowledged the protests while discussing action against Rosselló: ‘I believe that the demonstration of yesterday (Monday) was a clear and forceful one and one must always have his feet on the ground and listen to the people. I will do that analysis too.’
Half a million people participated in the March of the People on Monday (22 July). It went into the evening and police ended up dispersing tear gas.
But will Rosselló resign?
Several reports have come out saying Rosselló intends to resign following the protests. He has yet to formally do so, however.
Rosselló’s public affairs secretary, Anthony Maceira, said Rosselló ‘hasn’t resigned and is presently in Puerto Rico’. He also added there are ‘incorrect rumors that are being disseminated’.
Ricardo Llerandi, Rosselló’s chief of staff, resigned on Tuesday (23 July). His resignation will go into effect at the end of the month.
Llerandi, then-Interior Secretary, participated in the private messages leaked by the Center for Investigative Journalism.