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Daily News - 07 January 1998

Peña Gómez proposes to run for mayor
Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez has proclaimed himself as a candidate for mayor of Santo Domingo for the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano. The principal politician of the leading opposition party chose to run for mayor as a solution to the crisis affecting the PRD after he did not accept the results of the primary that were held for that position. Preliminary reports placed Julio Mariñez, who was endorsed by the present mayor of Santo Domingo, Rafael Suberví Bonilla, as the winner of the primary. The other two contenders, Miguel Vargas and Eligio Jaquez, supported Peña Gómez's decision. Julio Marínez refused to comment on Peña Gómez's decision.
Peña said he has chosen to sacrifice his health and run for mayor in order to avoid that the city hall be used by party politicians to further divide the organization, especially since the party has not yet chosen the presidential candidate for the year 2000.
Peña Gómez, who suffers from cancer of the pancreas, said that if he should win the post, he would only "be mayor for some time." He said that the candidate for vice mayor would probably be the next mayor of the city of Santo Domingo as due to his health condition, he would not be able to complete the four year term.
The candidate for vice mayor has not yet been announced. Peña Gómez has left the candidates for this position in the hands of the pre-candidates.
If Peña were to be elected mayor of Santo Domingo in this May's municipal and congressional election, it would be a repeat for him. He was mayor of the city from 1982-1986, under the Dr. Salvador Jorge Blanco PRD government.
Peña Gómez instructed to choose other party candidates for municipal and congressional positions in the provinces by consensus, in order to recover lost time and avoid new confrontations within the party.

Focus on Aníbal Páez
Today's Listín Diario headlines that deputy Aníbal Páez, one of the most influential officers in the past Balaguer government, owes RD$7 million to Inespre, the Instituto Nacional de Estabilización de Precios, now under focus in the press for supposed corruption of previous managements. The Listín has carried the story of how past authorities allowed the leasing of property of that institution for symbolic amounts and liberal use of credit for purchases. The Listín Diario said that Páez, who is a PRSC congressman and personal assistant to President Joaquín Balaguer, is just one of many former government officers, military and congressmen that collectively owe Inespre over RD$50 million for purchases of merchandise made on credit. District Attorney Francisco Brito said he would investigate the case.

PRSC primaries
Over 1,000 pre-candidates to congressional and municipal posts have registered with the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano. Carlos Morales Troncoso, member of the Committee of Three upon whom former President Balaguer delegated the management of the party, postponed until 12 January the deadline for the registration of candidates in the primary. Originally, former President Balaguer had instructed that the party choose its candidates by surveys, but he changed his mind and now favors the celebration of primaries. Candidates will be chosen from 17 January through 8 February.

58.5 kilos of cocaine confiscated
The drug control division of the government said that in 1997 it confiscated 58.5 kilos of cocaine, arresting 16 persons in operations. Also confiscated were 6 kilos of heroine, with 17 arrests, two grams of marijuana with two arrests and 1.9 grams of crack, with one person arrested. The director of the Direccion Nacional de Control de Drogas said that the year began with the arrest on 2 January of Martin Lizardo, a 32 year old Dominican who tried to introduce through the Las Americas International Airport three kilos of cocaine in seven shampoo bottles.

Senator Feliz Pérez kept in the limelight
District Attorney Francisco Dominguez Brito and Attorney General Abel Rodríguez del Orbe have aired their differences in the press in regards to whether senator Antonio Féliz Pérez, of Pedernales, should be tried for his involvement in the Bahia de las Aguilas beach land scandal, whereby National Park land was irregularly purchased by the senator for resale to tourism investors. The attorney general has stated that Féliz Pérez returned the property titles and that furthermore the case was incorrectly handled by the instruction judge. Féliz Perez must be judged by the Supreme Court given his status as senator. The discussions affect the aspiration of Féliz Pérez to repeat as senator for Pedernales.

RD$300 million for courts
President Leonel Fernandez announced the government will invest RD$300 million to reconstruct or build new judicial courts throughout the country. Euclides Sánchez, director of the Oficina de Ingenieros Supervisores de Obras del Estado, the government department that supervises government construction, said that most courts are in poor condition, given the lack of maintenance throughout the past 20 years.

Three Kings Day
The National Police had to close down the Máximo Gómez Avenue from 27 de Febrero de José Contreras avenues, to allow for the long lines of persons who queued up to receive toys on Three Kings Day, 6 January. The PRSC said that some RD$7 million were invested in the purchase of the 40,000 units that were given out. Fernando Villalona, one of the most popular merengue performers, provided entertainment for the crowds. During his many years as President, the former statesman yearly gave away thousands of toys to indigent Dominicans. The custom was started over 20 years ago by the former President's sister, Emma Balaguer. Deputy Aníbal Paéz, now in the limelight for his debts with the Inespre, was in charge of the gift giving.
The Mayor of Santo Domingo, Rafael Suberví Bonilla, distributed toys to some 50,000 children on the same day. In addition to those who lined up at his Mirador del Sur residence, the Mayor's wife also visited children's sections of public hospitals and orphanages to distribute the toys. Miguelina de Suberví, the mayor's wife, said that they invested over RD$6 million in the toys that were given out.
The government party, the PLD gave away toys on 5 January, the holiday that preceded the celebration of Three Kings Day.

Phone installation costs go up
Codetel confirmed it has increased the price of a residential telephone installation from RD$2,400 to RD$4,000. The increment is effective 2 January 1998. Codetel has been increasing the cost of different services after the government rejected an overall increase in the cost of residential telephone services.

Popular singer could travel to Miami for medical care
Dr. Pedro Pablo Díaz, the neurosurgeon head doctor of the team of physicians of the UCE Medical Center that have attended popular singer José Fermín González, says that the possibilities of recovery for "Jayson" are practically null, taking into account his initial injury and the response he has had to treatment during the past 20 days. His physicians do recommend that he travel to the United States where he could benefit from advanced technologies that would teach him how to adapt to his new form of life. While his condition is stable, he needs a respirator to breathe and is paralyzed in his legs and arms. He suffered a car accident in early December which has left him in a condition similar to Christopher Reeves, formerly Superman on the screen. President Leonel Fernández, Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez and even Gloria Estefan, have offered to help cover the medical costs in the States if the patient is taken there.

Aguilas lead the playoffs
The Aguilas Cibaeñas defeated the Licey Tigers, 4-2, in the continuation of the playoffs of the Dominican Winter Baseball League. Catcher and manager of the team, Tony Peña, was responsible for the double that led to the victory in the seventh inning of the game. The Aguilas now lead 3-3, followed by the Escogido and the Licey with 4-2, and the Estrellas with 4 losses and one victory.

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