The Secretary of Correction, Eduardo Rivera Juanatey, is on the list of people seeking to be confirmed by the Senate as a superior judge. (GFR Average)
The United Public Servants Union (SPU) and the Office of the Ombudsman for Prison Rights expressed their opposition to the appointment of the Secretary of Corrections, Eduardo Rivera Juanatey , as superior judge.
Both entities sent letters of opposition to the Senate, where the evaluation of the appointment is pending
In a press release, the SPU indicated that Rivera Juanatey lacks the necessary qualities to hold a position in the Judiciary because he has violated the right to free expression and has intervened with the union rights of his employees.
As an example, the SPU highlighted an attempt by the official to suspend a union leader of correctional guards for making expressions to El Nuevo Día in previous interviews.
“Attorney Rivera Juanatey lacks the judicial temperament to exercise a position as a judge,” said Benjamin Borges, trustee and spokesperson for SPUPR , parent union of the United Correctional Alliance, a union that represents correctional officers of the Correction Administration .
“Our Union has witnessed that Mr. Rivera has no qualms about intervening with the right to freedom of expression and the union rights of employees when they claim that the employer's actions put them at risk, particularly in circumstances where the Rivera himself has acted as a patron, “he added.
According to Borges, on September 17, the Department of Correction notified Officer Jessica Martínez, president of the United Correctional Alliance, a union that represents the correctional officers of the Department of Correction, of its intention to suspend her from employment and salary for reporting to the country's news media the employer's determinations that were exposing officers to greater risks.
“Despite the fact that we made several approaches to the Secretary and explained that he should not proceed disciplinary against the president of the local Union who represents the Correctional Officials when her expressions are made as a representative of the Union and with the purpose of denouncing In public situations that increase the risks to which the members of the union are exposed, the union chose to continue with the process, ”said the union member.
He explained that in the letter of intention to suspend employment and salary signed by Rivera Juanatey, the official indicates as the reasons for taking the disciplinary action that Martínez spoke with El Nuevo Día about the response to the resistance presented by a group of inmates on the 23rd. last January.
According to the Union, the head of Correction seeks to penalize her because, as indicated in her letter, she offered “information related to operational and institutional security aspects by indicating to him that: 'It was necessary for her to move to the Tactical Operations Unit (UOT) . This shows the need to have a TOU that has been disintegrated in the complexes. '
According to the secretary, these expressions “compromise institutional security.”
However, the union stated that these statements by Martínez were in reference to the fact that they had to transfer a group of officers with riot gear, from a distant point, to guarantee control of the situation, which kept the small group of people at greater risk. officers who had to respond initially.
In addition, the secretary intends to penalize Martínez because in an interview in April he allegedly made expressions “unfair to the agency”, in addition to allegedly providing incorrect information “about the way in which the emergency is being worked in the face of the contingency due to the threat of COVID19. These expressions were published in the newspaper of general circulation El Nuevo Día , without being authorized by the Central Press Office or by the secretary.
In the statement, Borges stated that “obviously Secretary Rivera Juanatey has intended to control the expressions of the president of the correctional officers regarding how they perceive their working conditions, including health and safety, and that if he does not allow it , whoever occupies this position will face punishment ”.
“For this reason, we ask the Senate of Puerto Rico not to allow those who intend to suppress trade union rights and freedom of expression and of the press, to sit down to judge and administer justice,” he concluded.
The SPU sent this position by letter to Senator Héctor Martínez, to whom a letter from the Ombudsman for Prison Rights was also addressed in opposition to the appointment of Rivera Juanatey as superior judge.
In written statements, the president of the entity, Dallie Cruz Ruiz, indicated that in the time she has been in charge of the agency, “Rivera Juanatey has not promoted open-door public policy that allows knowing the needs of all those who make up the Correctional System of Puerto Rico ”.
“He has mistreated us, he has ignored us and he has ignored what he is supposed to do as an administrator,” added Cruz Rubio, pointing out different instances in which they have tried to collaborate with the official to attend to the rehabilitation needs of inmates.
“For being inhumane, for being arrogant and not acting promoting healthy justice. This being the case, we cannot conceive that a person who has not been useful as an administrator of an Agency such as the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, is a fair judge and does not prosecute a constituent punitive philosophies that they promote over the years, “he said.