UPDATE, March 20, 2015: Last night, the White House Petition News’ Facebook page stated the following:
The petition “take out Alejandro García-Padilla from the governorship of Puerto Rico: Now!” has reached 100k signatures and will soon receive a response from the White House concerning possible inquires into the territorial economy of Puerto Rico in relation of alleged misused and missing funds during the administration of Governor Alejandro García-Padilla.
A We The People petition on WhiteHouse.gov asking the U.S. government to remove Governor Alejandro García Padilla of Puero Rico from office has surpassed 100,000 signatures in 30 days, completing a key requirement needed for the White House to formally respond to the petition.
The push to 100,000 came even when the We The People site was reporting technical errors. Although sources on the island tell us that the petition was a grassroots effort via social media, they also indicated that García Padilla’s main political opponents, those who are part of the pro-statehood New Progressive Party, were making private pushes to clear the 100,000 milestone.
News of the petition appears to be another political blow to García Padilla, the pro-Commonwealth incumbent facing major challenges on the island due to a tax reform push. Like we said in a previous piece, we would think the White House’s official response will refer to Section 21 of Puerto Rico’s Consitution, which reads as follows:
Section 21. The House of Representatives shall have exclusive power to initiate impeachment proceedings and, with the concurrence of two-thirds of the total number of members of which it is composed, to bring an indictment. The Senate shall have exclusive power to try and to decide impeachment cases, and in meeting for such purposes the Senators shall act in the name of the people and under oath or affirmation. No judgment of conviction in an impeachment trial shall be pronounced without the concurrence of three-fourths of the total number of members of which the Senate is composed, and the judgment shall be limited to removal from office. The person impeached, however, may be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment according to law. The causes of impeachment shall be treason, bribery, other felonies, and misdemeanors involving moral turpitude. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall preside at the impeachment trial of the Governor.
The two houses may conduct impeachment proceedings in their regular or special sessions. The presiding officers of the two houses, upon written request of two-thirds of the total number of members of which the House of Representatives is composed, must convene them to deal with such proceedings.
It is too early to tell if the Puerto Rican government or the federal government will act on the petition, yet getting the White House to formally respond to anything regarding Puerto Rico must be seen as noteworthy. All this news comes at a time when Alexandra Lúgaro became the island’s first gubernatorial candidate ever to declare her intent to run with no party affiliation.