In the aftermath of the decision handed by the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico to declare part of Law 160, which reformed the Teacher’s Retirement System, as unconstitutional, the public relations machine of the government and the Popular Democratic Party has been in full force, denouncing the decision as wrong and damaging to the territory.
Interestingly however, Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla has now reacted saying the decision was inconsistent because it declared the reform as valid for new teachers, but as unconstitutional for current teachers. It doesn’t take a law degree to realize that current contracts are enforceable, and thus their modification was subject to a strict scrutiny on behalf of the court, which determined that it failed to pass muster. By altering the existing contract with teachers, while failing to ensure the financial solvency of the retirement system, the reform did not advance a legitimate government interest, hence the decision. But this apparently flies over the governor’s head.
It would help if anyone over at Fortaleza would explain to the territorial head of government what a contract is, even in simple terms, like calling it a promise, which Frank Underwood can explain:
Granted, teacher union representatives jumped at the remarks, and rightly so. In an administration plagued by gaffes and poorly made expressions, this is not exactly surprising, but still, we are talking about a governor with a law degree.