Wednesday, June 09 2010 @ 08:41 AM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
It appears the request to separate Valdés Carrasquilla from his position as the Mayor of San Miguelito will take place today, after he is interrogated by the Second Anti Corruption Prosecutor. The City Council of San Miguelito consists of seven representatives of the PRD and two from the Democratic Change political party. However, only one of the nine representatives was present to support Valdés Carrasquilla during a recent press conference - Roberto Butcher, the PRD representative from the area of Mateo Iturralde.
While the City Council conducted its regular Tuesday session yesterday, Mayor Valdés Carrasquilla spoke to reporters about the allegations being made against him. Although he did not present any documentation, the former boxer said in his defense he obtained two personal loans in 2004 and 2010 to economically support the residents of San Miguelito. "I asked for $20,000 from the Banco General at that time, and I also asked for $30,000 dollars from Financredit in the earlier period. A lot of that money I shared with my people in San Miguelito," he said, to defend himself against allegations made by former City Treasurer Fernando Hernandez, who accused Valdés Carrasquilla of spreading between $2,000 to $2,500 dollars from the municipal coffers every week, giving the money to residents and political supporters in San Miguelito. On the other hand, Valdés Carrasquilla blamed everything that is happening now on former presidential candidate Balbina Herrera, despite the fact that the reports and audits from the office of the Comptroller and from the Court of Auditors identify him as the primary person responsible for the loss of the money. In addition, Valdés Carrasquilla did not respond when asked if he had received $150,000 from former President Martin Torrijos to replace the missing money that was supposedly taken from the City's coffers, as alleged by the former City Treasurer. "I am innocent, and I never counted money in my mother's house," the mayor said.
Meanwhile, Balbina Herrera said on the Channel 13 news broadcast that Carrasquilla should not try to divert attention and he should focus on putting together a good defense. Attorney General Giuseppe Bonissi said he expects Mayor Valdés Carrasquilla will appear before the prosecutor today to be interrogated in the case. He has been duly summoned. Every person who has been summoned by the judicial system has the duty to appear," said Bonissi. (La Prensa)
Editor's Comment: Balbina Herrera started her political career as the Mayor of San Miguelito, where she served two terms (ten years.) She was then elected as San Miguelito's representative to the National Assembly where she served another two terms (ten years.) In 2004 she rode the coattails of Martin Torrijos to become first the Minister of Housing (MIVI), and she resigned from that position to run as the PRD's candidate in the presidential elections of 2009 - which she lost to Ricardo Martinelli. All of that means that as of May 2009, Balbina Herrera found herself politically defeated for the first time, and out of government office for the first time since 1984. She spent about six months in denial, and now she is apparently returning to her roots. I don't know exactly how, but in some way it will benefit her politically to have this PRD Mayor Héctor Valdés Carrasquilla removed from office. She knew all about the money he was skimming from petty cash because she did the exact same thing herself for more than a decade. Former City Treasurer Fernando Hernandez, who started the whole investigation with his allegations, probably has political ties or allegiance to Balbina Herrera. This morning Mayor Héctor Valdés Carrasquilla said he knows Balbina Herrera is behind all of this, and he's probably right. He almost certainly took the money, but considering that the City Council was dominated by the PRD with seven out of nine seats, in his brain he probably thought he would be allowed to continue to get away with it. He never expected what happened - Balbina Herrera needs a job, and she is returning to her roots, her political base in San Miguelito, in an attempt to haul her scorched political career from the ashes. Mayor Héctor Valdés Carrasquilla is her first victim on the comeback trail.