SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Justice Secretary Luis Sanchez Betances resigned on Wednesday amid a scandal sparked when he visited a police station where a friend of his was being held in jail for driving while intoxicated.
Sanchez Betances issued a statement minutes before meeting with Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla and after publicly acknowledging that he made a mistake by going to the station after his friend and former law partner Jaime Sifre telephoned him.
“This morning, I informed the governor ... that I have decided to resign,” Sanchez Betances said. “This decision does not mean that I have engaged in any kind of conduct that is against the law.”
Sanchez Betances said he was “completely convinced” that he had not done anything illegal or committed a breach of ethics – or done anything at odds with the duties of his office – and added that he felt proud of the work he had performed at the Justice Department.
He resigned just hours after cutting short an official visit to Costa Rica at the request of Garcia Padilla.
When his flight landed in Puerto Rico, he acknowledged publicly that he had made a mistake by showing up at the San Juan police Traffic Division headquarters where Sifre was being held.
In any case, Sanchez Betances repeatedly insisted that, in his judgment, he had done nothing illegal or unethical but had only responded to the call of a friend, and he demanded that everything continue to take the normal course of the law.