Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced his resignation Wednesday. This cam just days after demonstrators at the island’s largest protest in recent history called for his removal over a scandal involving leaked private chats as well as corruption investigations and arrests.
His resignation is effective Aug. 2, it came late Wednesday night on a recorded video published on Facebook. In the message, he talked about what he considered accomplishments of his time in office, saying he fought corruption and made strides for different communities.
“My only North Star has been the well-being of my island,” he said.
Crowds in the streets, which for nearly two weeks had been calling for the governor to step down, immediately erupted in joyous chants, cheering “Puerto Rico! Puerto Rico!”
“Ricky, te botamos!” (“Ricky, we threw you out!”) the jubilant crowd exclaimed after the governor’s announcement.
“After the birth of my son, this is the happiest day of my life,” said René Pérez Joglar, also known as Residente. The acclaimed Puerto Rican star was among the artists who had rallied the island in rallies that were unprecedented in their scope.
Rosselló is the U.S. commonwealth’s first governor to resign.
In his recorded message, he challenged people to stay orderly. “What I wish most is peace and progress for my people,” he said.
The news came after three attorneys commissioned by the president of Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives, Carlos Méndez Núñez, unanimously found five offenses that constituted grounds for impeachment.
The attorneys found Rosselló committed four serious offenses and one misdemeanor, including illicitly using public resources and services for partisan purposes, as well as allowing government officials and contractors to misuse public funds and time for non-government work.
Méndez had announced he had convened a meeting for Thursday afternoon to begin the impeachment process.
Reports of Rosselló’s planned resignation had broken Tuesday just a few hours after NBC News and Telemundo, both owned by NBC Universal, reported that the island’s Justice Department had issued search warrants to confiscate the cellphones of several people who took part in the private chats.
Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans have been protesting for 12 consecutive days, demanding Rosselló’s removal.