COSTA RICA NEWS – An ethical difference of opinion arose in the President’s Partido Accion Cuidadana (Citizen Action Party  – PAC) Monday when in a meeting of the 13 PAC lawmakers, five important and influential members stormed out, obviously furious, over inclusion of lawmaker Victor Hugo Morales.

Morales is under a cloud because, despite criticism in PAC of his not telling the party’s electoral committee about having been accused in 1994 of diverting public funds to another use. In a party that covets the image of ethical spotlessness — sort of Caesar’s wife — his choosing not to resign was frowned upon.

What is worse for some PAC members was that Morales accompanied the President on his mid-July tour of Guanacaste province. La Nacion claimed that the unlikely pair appeared quite comfortable with one another, “exchanging secret signs at times.”

The defectors from the lawmaker meeting are some of the most influential party members — Otton Solis, Epsy Campbell, Marvin Atencio, Marco Vinicio Redondo and Nidia Jimenez. So upsetting was the topic of Morales to the group that they did not even touch on the separation of Ivan Barrantes as unpaid Presidential advisor.

But Barrantes stole the march on them, anyway, by announcing Monday morning that he was leaving the Presidential offices in Zapote. Morales arrived at the meeting with the sad news that his brother had died in Desamparados but not even this sad news turned aside the debate over his permanence in his congressional seat.

Morales, during the campaign and after he was elected, refused to resign. This placed the party on a cleft stick. In the multi-party Legislative Assembly, they did not have the majority of the 57 votes — in fact they are the second most numerous, following National Liberation, so they need every vote.

The Ethical Tribunal of PAC first called for Morales to resign his candidacy then, in June, revoked their own decision to deprive him of office. Had he seen fit to resign, PAC would have been legally free to name another lawmaker to replace him. Evidently the Tribunal viewed him as a reality unlikely to go away.

The five who stormed out of the meeting were furious because the Ethical Tribunal had not resolved their reluctance to kick him off the PAC congressional delegation. For his part, Morales has always maintained that he was accused but never convicted of malfeasance of office.

Article by, reposted with permission

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