Things That Matter

The Drama Continues: Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court Says New Governor’s Oath Was Unconstitutional

It’s been five days since former Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló resigned following massive protests against scandalous and incriminating chats, and the archipelago still does not have a lawfully recognized successor in La Fortaleza, the governor’s mansion.

Upon stepping down on Friday, August 2, the embattled politico nominated Pedro Pierluisi.

Peirluisi was to fill the secretary of state vacancy left by Luis G. Rivera Marín, who resigned last month for his own part in the leaked messages. As secretary of state, Pierluisi would have been next in line to become governor. However, Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Wednesday that part of the law used by Rosselló to name Pierluisi his successor is unconstitutional.

But the Supreme Court ruled against that part of the law Rosselló used to appoint Pierluisi was unconstitutional.

“The governor’s oath of office was unconstitutional,” Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court said, as reported by NBC News. “Therefore, Hon. Pedro R. Pierluisi Urrutia can’t continue his work as Governor after this Opinion and Sentence becomes effective.”

The decision, which takes effect at 5 p.m. EST, follows a lawsuit filed by Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz on Monday. In the litigation, Rivera Schatz asked the courts to immediately remove Pierluisi from the position because his governorship was unlawful according to Puerto Rico’s constitution. 

While the social codes do say that the island’s secretary of state should be the new governor if the position is vacant, it requires the person nominated to the post to be confirmed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate. However, Pierluisi had only been confirmed as secretary of state by the House when he took his oath as governor on Friday.

“It’s unconstitutional to allow a Secretary of State to become Governor without having been confirmed by both legislative chambers,” the Supreme Court said in a press release.

The Senate postponed its vote for this week, days after Rosselló’s resignation became official, meaning that Pierluisi’s governorship was unofficial and that the Caribbean island hasn’t yet filled the top seat. 

This week, instead of voting on the matter, Rivera Schatz went to the courts to argue that Pierluisi did not “occupy the position of secretary of state in property” because he wasn’t confirmed by both Houses.

In response, Pierluisi contended this wasn’t the only way that the secretary of state could be ratified, citing the law of succession of 2005, which included a recommendation by Puerto Rico’s Department of Justice to waive a secretary of state’s confirmation requirement in case of an emergency.

He is expected to be making a comment later today.

Puerto Ricans are celebrating the ruling.

Since Rosselló nominated Pierluisi as secretary of state, many have taken to the streets for “¡Pierluisi, renuncia!” demonstrations. Opponents have several issues with Pierluisi, a former resident commissioner and an attorney, but predominantly condemn his ties to the unelected fiscal control board, known on the archipelago as “la junta.” 

In the historic protests that removed Rosselló, demonstrators called for both his resignation and the disbanding of the largely-loathed Obama-appointed board that has slashed needed public services on the island. “Ricky renuncia, y llévate a la junta,” went one of the most popular chants of the rallies. Pierluisi has a long history with the board, representing Puerto Rico in Congress when the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, or PROMESA, was passed, which created la junta; his brother-in-law is the chair of the board; and Pierluisi has been working for the law firm that does consulting for the board — a post he resigned from to take on the role as governor.

But the drama isn’t over yet since the woman next in-line still doesn’t want the island’s top job and Puerto Ricans don’t want her.

According to the Puerto Rican constitution, next in line to fill the governorship seat is Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez, who has said repeatedly that she is not interested in the job. Puerto Rican media are reporting that Vazquez, who has also faced public disapproval for her defense of the leaked chats and her own problematic history as an attorney, will nominate Jenniffer Gonzalez, the U.S. territory’s representative in Congress, as secretary of state, who would then takeover as governor if Vazquez steps down.

When questioned about this scenario, González told local newspaper El Nuevo Día, “that is decided by the bodies and the governor. I will support whomever they choose. That has been my position since day one.”

Even more, Puerto Rico Sen. Zoe Laboy told Central Florida cable news outlet Spectrum News 13 that should Gonzalez be nominated as secretary of state by Vazquez, then she hopes both the House and Senate would have the chance to ratify the nomination.

This would pose an even greater challenge for Puerto Ricans fighting for a just and free future for their island, as Gonzalez is not only a member of the same pro-statehood party of the Rosselló administration but is also a Trump-supporting Republican.

Vázquez is expected to be sworn in as Puerto Rico’s new governor on Wednesday at 5 p.m. EST.

Read: The Governor Of Puerto Rico Was Caught In A Chat Using Grotesque Homophobic And Sexist Language And The Entire Island Is Calling Him To Resign In Massive Protests

Nicky Jam And Daddy Yankee Allegedly Had To Flee Puerto Rico After Death Threats

Entertainment

Nicky Jam And Daddy Yankee Allegedly Had To Flee Puerto Rico After Death Threats

nickyjampr / Instagram

Nicky Jam just confessed to a wide range of shocking statements while on a popular talk show in Spain. The reggaetonero sat down with El Hormiguero to promote his newly released album, Intimo, and Netflix’s “Nicky Jam: El Ganador,” the dramatized retelling of Nicky Jam’s life story, and the launch of reggaeton itself. Those who have seen “El Ganador” know about the artist’s previous drug addiction, but nobody knew about the death threats.

The 38-year-old Grammy winner told El Hormiguero host Pablo Motos that Daddy Yankee and he had to flee Puerto Rico because of death threats. 

Los Cangris only returned to Puerto Rico when the person threatening them died in a street fight.

Credit: @AudienciaSerie1 / Twitter

Nicky Jam and Daddy Yankee first rose to fame as the Los Cangris duo. During that time, they were still in dangerous neighborhoods. Nicky Jam recalls how a music business parter to Los Cangris was murdered, which prompted a slew of threats. Both Yankee and Nicky Jam received a death threat, which Nicky Jam says is the reason they fled to New York City. “Let’s go back and confront that guy who wants to kill us and let’s make music,” Nicky told Yankee. “Porque es que nosotros lo que hacemos es música!”

According to The Dial, that person who continued to threaten the duo ended up dying in a separate street brawl, which effectively ended Nicky Jam and Daddy Yankee’s bar from the island.

Though Nicky Jam made sure his audience knew that Puerto Rico produces “high society” people like Ricky Martin and Marc Anthony.

Credit: @nickyjampr / Instagram

No way Nicky Jam was going to let people think his candid story is a blanket statement on his island. “Don’t go thinking that we’re all from the hood,” Nicky jam assured his audience. “There are Puerto Ricans of high society who do not speak like me…,” he joked. He went onto list Luis Fonsi, Ricky Martin and Marc Anthony as “normal Puerto Ricans.” No te preocupes, Nicky Jam, not even a man armed with paper towels could tarnish the hard-working, resilient and brilliant nature of Boricuas. For good measure, he encouraged the audience to visit Puerto Rico, saying “Puerto Rico is a beautiful country… you can go and enjoy the beaches.”

He acknowledged that the graphic depiction of his childhood in “El Ganador” and subsequent drug abuse was intentional.

Credit: @alvaroher78 / Twitter

He told Motos that he knew he could have presented a rosy picture of his teenage years, but that it would accomplish nothing for the young people watching. “I wanted them to see that there are two roads,” he said. “If you take the negative, all the bad things that happened to me will happen to you.” He was candid about his drug addiction and how it overtook his family. He told the audience that even his doctor told him that “tienes dos opciones: morirte o quitarte,” you have two options, kill yourself or get clean. He told the cheering crowd that he’s been clean of drugs and alcohol for ten years, “gracias a Dios.”

Nicky Jam said that his sobriety prompted both his parents to get clean as well.

Credit: @nickyjampr / Instagram

I was the one who broke the chains and the whole family got ready,” he said. More than that, he talked about how his mother was a huge driver of his success, but not for the reasons you’d expect. Nick Rivera Caminero was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts to a Dominican mother and Puerto Rican father. When he was ten years old, they moved to Barrio Obrero in Puerto Rico. As Nicky Jam’s addiction progressed to 39 pills a day of Percocet mixed with other drugs, his relationship with his parents disintegrated. By the time he was 30 years old, he didn’t know how to find his mother, and hoped that fame might bring her to him. One day, he said, “I went to do a show in the Dominican Republic and my bodyguard told me that there was a lady outside saying she was my mother.” Both his parents were struggling with their own addictions, and, reunited, he helped them gain sobriety.

Needless to say, the Internet is deeply emotionally shaken.

Credit: @jonlearreta / Twitter

“El Ganador” is no longer available on Netflix, though it’s finally been made available to Univision subscribers. You can listen to his new album “Intimo,” streaming worldwide, which was just released to patient fans on Nov. 1. We’re glad you made it out okay, Nicky Jam. Felicidades.

READ: Watch These Celebs And Dancers Take Nicky Jam And J Balvin’s ‘X Challenge’

Grandfather Of Toddler Who Fell To Her Death From A Cruise Ship Window Has Been Charged With Homicide

Things That Matter

Grandfather Of Toddler Who Fell To Her Death From A Cruise Ship Window Has Been Charged With Homicide

maricarmen_garvin / Instagram

There are new charges being brought against the grandfather of a 1-year-old girl who fell to her death from an 11th story window on a cruise ship this past July. Authorities are charging Salvatore Anello with negligent homicide after prosecutors argued that his granddaughter, Chloe Wiegand, 18 months, fell and died after he lifted her up to an open window on the cruise ship. Anello says he thought that the window was closed when he lifted her next to the window but instead she fell 11 stories onto the concrete below on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that was docked in San Juan back on July 7. 

Salvatore Anello is facing three years in prison for the death of 1-year-old Wiegand after Puerto Rico’s Justice Department ordered his arrest this past Monday. They argue that he negligently exposed his granddaughter to the open window. 

Credit: @DailyMail / Twitter

Wiegand was on vacation with her dad, a South Bend, Indiana, police officer, her mother, siblings and both sets of grandparents on the Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas cruise ship. The family has been crushed by the news and at this time has stood by Anello’s story that he didn’t know that the window was open. According to the family, he often held up his granddaughter next to the glass at her older brother’s hockey game so she could bang on it. 

“Chloe wanted to bang on the glass like she always did at her older brothers’ hockey games,” Michael Winkleman, an attorney for Wiegand’s parents said in a July statement. “Her grandfather thought there was glass just like everywhere else, but there was not, and she was gone in an instant.”

Winkleman told NBC News that the new charges being put forward have only made the situation worse. He describes the morale within the family as “fractured” after Anello’s arrest.

“The family is crushed. Utterly crushed,” Winkleman said. “I think they were doing their best to really start the process of grieving for the months since the incident since the tragedy happened and I think they were really doing their best to keep it together for their 11-year-old son.”

The grandfather has vehemently denied any and all accusations of wrongdoing to his granddaughter. The family lawyer has called for more warnings or even a sign to notify people of the open window near the play area. 

Credit: @WTHRoom / Twitter

“I think the critical problem there was that there are strict safety regulations that are in place that are literally designed to protect against exactly that incident, which is a toddler falling through an open glass window,” Winkleman said. “Those are primarily, you could have a screen, you could have some type of grid. Or more importantly, windows in that type of a situation aren’t even supposed to open more than 4 inches.”

While video evidence has yet to be seen by the family, they are holding Royal Caribbean responsible for their daughter’s death. Winkleman told NBC News on Tuesday that the family has no reason to not believe Anello’s story. Winklemam says that the family intends to pursue a lawsuit against the cruise line.

“We know what Sam’s version of the events were, and I have no reason to doubt what he said,” Winkleman said. “Having said that, a picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth 10,000 words.”

Kimberly, the girl’s mother, previously told NBC’s “Today” that “I never want another mother to have to experience this or to see what I had to see or to scream how I had to scream.”

“I didn’t know that she went out a window,” Kimberley said. “And I just kept saying, ‘Take me to my baby. Where’s my baby?’ I didn’t even notice a window. I ran over there and I looked over and it wasn’t water down there, it was concrete. To lose our baby this way is just unfathomable.”

Royal Caribbean released a statement Tuesday that Weigand’s death was a “tragic incident” and is referring questions over to authorities “out of respect for the family’s privacy.”

Anello is being held on an $80,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on November 20.

READ: A Taco Truck Apologized For Serving ICE Employees At A Detention Center But Then Walked Back Their Apology