Domingo Emanuelli asks the court to remove Elizabeth Torres as congressional delegate

Secretary of Justice, Sunday Emmanuelannounced today, Monday, that it requested the Court of First Instance the dismissal of Elizabeth Torres as a congressional delegate, due to her alleged failure to comply with the responsibilities established by the law to lobby for statehood.

“His actions and demonstrations show that he has not been exercising the functions as required by said statute and in compliance with the mandate of the voters”pronounced Emanuelli, at a press conference at the Justice headquarters, in San Juan.

Torres’s alleged breaches of the law were due to the failure to submit written reports on her efforts and failure to demand statehood for Puerto Rico before the United States Congress, which is the reason why she was elected in a plebiscite.

Emanuelli reported that Torres had already been duly notified and summoned. The court scheduled the hearing for April 11, 2022.

Appeal for the impeachment of statehood lobbyist Elizabeth Torres by El Nuevo Día on Scribd

“She has been clear that she denies the validity of this law, of this group… Her actions, by Elizabeth Torres, are a denial of the proposal or exhibition for which the law was created and it would be absurd to keep her in that position”Emmanuelli pointed out.

The Law to Create the Congressional Delegation of Puerto Rico (Law 167 of 2020) requires the six state delegates to take steps to advance the annexation of Puerto Rico to the United States through consistent claims to the United States Congress. They must also disclose quarterly reports on their said efforts.

The Secretary of Justice, Domingo Emanuelli.
The Secretary of Justice, Domingo Emanuelli, during the press conference. (Xavier J. Araújo Berríos)

In legal appeal, Justice was based on statements made by the delegate herself in the two reports that she has delivered to date, in which she has focused on criticizing and rejecting the plebiscite. In addition, Torres asked the governor, Pedro Pierluisi, to dissolve the delegation and indicated that he will not offer details about the strategy and the people contacted.

“The special delegate unilaterally intends to report the steps allegedly carried out once the term of her mandate ends in 2024 and she has been disbursed more than a quarter of a million dollars in public funds for her alleged hidden or secret strategies”reads the resource, as quoted in the press release.

Torres has earned about $67,500 to date since he was sworn in on July 1, 2021according to Emmanuel. The Act allows them to charge all delegates a salary of $90,000 a year and reimbursements of up to $30,000 a year.

Emanuelli indicated that they do not rule out asking Torres to return the public funds accrued so far, but they are first asking for his dismissal according to due process of law.

The investigation into his efforts was carried out by the Civil Division of the Department of Justice. The agency is empowered to evaluate the delegates’ compliance with what is mandated by law.

The Secretary of Justice assured that all the delegates are being examined by the agency. To questions from the press, he clarified that the analysis criterion will be to validate that they have indeed made arrangements. “It’s making the arrangements, not getting it,” he said, referring to statehood.

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