Fortuño stays away from Mundo claim
“More people voted against,” Fortuño said during an activity in Caguas. “That must be respected and that is the democracy that we live and breathe in Puerto Rico.”
Earlier Monday, Mundo said he had fielded information that operators of open-air drug markets paid voters to cast “no” ballots on the bail issue during Sunday’s referendum.
Mundo later stepped back from his comment.
“I want to make clear that I was never referring to public housing project residents, who are good and honest people,” he said in a statement. “I ask forgiveness if I offended anyone as that was never my intention.”
Puerto Rico voters rejected constitutional amendments that would have reduced the size of the island Legislature and given judges the right to deny bail in certain murder cases.
The State Elections Commission said 54% of voters rejected the legislative measure and 46% favored it. The bail measure was opposed by 55% and 45& supported it. Roughly 805,000 (35%) of the island’s 2.3 million registered voters turned out at polling stations on Sunday.
The referendum’s results mean Puerto Rico remains the only place in the Western Hemisphere where everyone is entitled to bail regardless of the alleged crime.
Fortuño and other members of his pro-statehood New Progressive Party lamented the bail change wasn’t approved.
“This would have been a great tool to fight crime,” Fortuño said Sunday night.
The bail amendment would have granted judges the right to deny bail to those accused of premeditated murder, killing a police officer or killing someone in a public space or during a home invasion, sexual assault or drive-by shooting.
The legislative amendment would have reduced the number of Senate seats from 27 to 17 and the number of House seats from 51 to 39. Opponents said it would make it much harder for small political parties to win legislative seats.
Supporters of amending the constitution argued the bail changes would cut crime and said the legislature reduction would make the body more efficient as well as save money that politicians pledged would be used to fight crime.
It was the second time Puerto Ricans have said no to changing the right to bail. In a 1994 referendum, 54% of voters rejected a proposal that would have allowed judges to withhold bail in any case, regardless of the crime charged.