Only days after several former top officials in Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s administration were arrested on corruption charges, the island’s Center for Investigative Journalism published hundreds of pages of Telegram messages between Rosselló and top officials. The chats contained profane insults about other officials, which has outraged Puerto Ricans, who are now calling for Rosselló’s resignation, according to the New York Times.
Protesters assembled outside of Rosselló’s mansion this weekend to demand his resignation, chanting “Ricky, ¡renuncia!”
Rosselló is still trying to save his image. On Sunday, he went to church and apparently asked for forgiveness, according to a report in the newspaper El Nuevo Día.
“I humble myself before you and before the Almighty for the faults I have committed,” Rosselló told reporters.
The governor’s offices maintains that Rosselló will not resign. He is apparently planning to announce new anti-corruption measures.
“We do not give up on the work under way, and today more than ever, many people are counting on my commitment to that work,” Rosselló said in a statement.
Though Rosselló was not implicated directly in the corruption charges, he was tainted by the chat messages in which he participated. In one message, Rosselló’s former chief financial officer Christian Sobrino said of San Juan Mayor Yulín Cruz, “I am salivating to shoot her.”
“You do me a favor,” Rosselló responded.
Cruz says she has filed a police complaint since hearing of the message.
All 11 members of the group chat were men. In addition to the threat against Cruz, it included a chat in which Rosselló called Melissa Mark-Viverito, the former New York City Council speaker, a whore.
In another message, Sobrino joked about the backlog of dead bodies from the devastating Hurricane Maria in 2017.
“Now that we are on the subject, don’t we have some cadavers to feed our crows?” he wrote, apparently in a reference to critics of the administration. “Clearly they need attention.”
Representative Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s representative in Congress, has said Rosselló shouldn’t seek reelection in 2020 and should “immediately reflect on his role as governor.”
“I feel ashamed by everything being said in these private communications,” González-Colón said in a statement. “The people are disgusted, disappointed by this telenovela.”