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Daily News - 27 June 2002

Two could have murdered Collares
The director of the Institute of Forensic Medicine, Dr. Vetilio Cornielle, says that 20-year-old Carlos Manuel Geronimo Alfonseca (Carlos Collares) could have been murdered by more than one person. Cornielle says the autopsy shows he suffered nine stab wounds that probably came from two separate weapons. The fatal wound was a 29-inch cut through his heart, diaphragm, stomach and liver. Inmate Liborio Heredia was identified on Tuesday as Collares' murderer. Heredia is in jail for the murder of his wife. 
The pathologist says there were no signs of a fight. 
Collares was in jail at the Monte Plata prison awaiting trial for the murder of Senator Dario Gomez. The late Senator's widow and his sister, Senator-elect Celeste Gomez, had just hours before asked that the five men accused of Gomez' murder receive special protection in jail after learning there was a plan to permanently "shut them up."
Attorney General Virgilio Bello Rosa said a commission has been named to investigate the circumstances of the death. He ordered all the guards at the jail arrested for questioning to determine if there was negligence.

Ministerial meeting opens
Vice President Milagros Ortiz Bosch gave the keynote address yesterday at the opening of the Asia, Caribbean and Pacific Group's 75th Ministerial Meeting and the 27th Meeting of the ACP Group and the European Union at the Bavaro Convention Center in La Altagracia province. The ministers will meet to discuss globalization, the struggle against poverty and narcotics trafficking. Bilateral agreements and European cooperation agreements are also on the agenda.
Minister of Foreign Relations Hugo Tolentino Dipp told Diario Libre that the Dominican Republic would present a proposal to be included among the ACP countries that benefit from a preferential sugar quota from the European Union. Discussions regarding the European Union Banana Protocol are also on the Dominican participants' agenda. The Dominican Republic exports 100,000 tons of organic bananas to Europe and is the largest exporter of organic bananas in the world.

Ministry clears Argentinean ambassador and consul
The Ministry of Foreign Relations says investigations confirm that Dominican women were lured to Argentina with false offers of jobs and later forced into prostitution. The Ministry also says no Dominican embassy or consular diplomats participated in these activities, as was reported by the International Organization for Migration in the Argentinean press. According to the DR Ministry of Foreign Relations, the white slavery trafficking rings involved around 3,000 Dominican women in Buenos Aires. An estimated 8,000 Dominicans live in Argentina.

Negotiating the simple majority
The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Rafaela Alburquerque (PRSC-San Pedro de Macoris) told the media that negotiations are going on regarding the constitutional reform sought by high government officers. Alburquerque said yesterday that former President Balaguer favors all the changes proposed by the PRD majority Senate with the exception of the simple majority modification. 
The government officers want to reduce to a simple majority the number of votes needed to win the presidency in the first round. This change would particularly favor the ruling PRD party, which has the strongest following and could run in the election alone. For the candidate of the PRSC or the PLD to win the election, a political alliance would be necessary.
With the present 50% plus 1 vote requirement, a candidate needs to form an alliance with a third party in order to win. PRD officers want the PRSC deputies to vote in favor of the bill that could decide the political future of President Hipolito Mejia right now. 
PLD spokesman Teodoro Reyes and PRD party president, Hatuey de Camps (who is the most vocal opponent of consecutive re-election in his own party) denounced that government officers are making promises of hundreds of thousands of pesos to persuade outgoing deputies to vote in favor of re-election. The legislators' term ends 16 August. 
Diario Libre reports that the deputy president of the Chamber, Maximo Castro Silverio (PRSC-La Altagracia), opened the session yesterday but despite having a quorum, the deputies did not proceed to study any of the 71 points on the agenda. The newspaper comments that by opening and closing the session, the deputies ensured they will receive their benefits such as meal allowances and other expenses.

Setting the record straight on PLD senator's win
Vinicio Castillo, an eyewitness to the Sunday, 19 May vote counting crisis, writes to Orlando Gil, political analyst of the Listin Diario, to explain what really happened on that day. 
Gil had speculated in his column earlier that if the vote had been recounted, neither Jose Tomas Perez nor Roberto Salcedo, the PLD candidates, would have won their posts. 
Castillo says, "What happened that Sunday afternoon and night is worthy of telling for the record. The three key men of the President (who was traveling in Europe), together with Fafa Taveras (the PRD candidate to senator), pushed to the end so that units could be added to the vote count tallies (palitos). This was the same ploy that was used in Santiago."
[Here he is referring to adding a digit to the left of the number of votes that were cast in order to boost a particular candidate's total. The addition made a difference when the vote was tight.]
"Guido Gomez, Hernani Salazar, Eligio Jaquez, on one side, and Abel Rodriguez del Orbe, Mariano German, Francisco Javier Garcia, Elias Serulle, Tony Delgado, Taina Gautreaux and the writer of this letter on the other, met in a face to face confrontation at the National District Central Electoral Board that lasted more than 10 hours." 
"The tension reached such levels that Doctor Morel Cerda [the president of the Central Electoral Board] at 6 pm visited the National District Electoral Board (JED). At the end of the meeting shortly before leaving the JED building, he told Jose Tomas Perez. 'You won,' leaving behind his trusted aide Gilberto Cruz Herasme to give the final verdict for the evening, a verdict that was opposed by the President's men. Near the stairs on his way to exit, Morel minutes afterwards told the three key men of the President: "No me echen una vaina, c! que Fafa perdio." ["Don't put that one on me. Fafa (the PRD candidate for senator) lost."]
Castillo explained that the speculation that Perez and Salcedo did not win legitimately comes from sectors within the PLD that oppose them. He says these same factions have been responsible for the party's poor showing in the past three elections and now are spreading stories to destroy the image of the only PLD senator. "The 114 electoral tables that were annulled gave more votes to Jose Tomas and Robert, increasing their lead to 4%, such were the final results of the vote count by the civic group, Participacion Ciudadana."

Expo Europa dates changed
The dates of Expo Europa 2002 have been changed. The trade show organized by the Federation of European Chambers of Commerce in the Dominican Republic announced that it will now take place 7-10 November. For more information, see http://www.expoeuropacaribe.com.do

Watch the World Cup!
World Cup fans can enjoy watching the Germany vs. Brazil game at the Centro Dominico-Aleman. The game will be seen on a big screen starting at 7 am on Sunday, 30 June. German sausages, German beer, sweets, coffee, and refreshments included in the admission price. Admission: RD$100 members and RD$150 non-members. RD$50 children up to 12 years. For more information, contact Thomas Kirbach at [email protected] 
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