Gov. Alejandro García-Padilla has named Javier Rúa-Jovet, who served as deputy secretary of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources under the Aníbal Acevedo Vilá administration, as the new president of the Puerto Rico Telecommunications Regulatory Board, this media outlet has learned.
His appointment is coupled with a second designation, that of attorney María Milagros Reyes, as associate member. La Fortaleza submitted their nominations to the Senate last Friday.
Rúa-Jovet, an attorney, has been working in government for many years, including the TRB, where he acted as legal advisor.
If confirmed by the Senate, Rúa-Jovet would bump current TRB President Sandra Torres from her post, which she has held since November 2009. According to Law 11, recently approved by the current administration, the governor has the authority to name a new board president, even if there is one already in place.
If she does not resign, Torres would be moved to an associate member position, joining Nixyvette Santini, Gloria Escudero and Reyes, if the Senate confirms her. The board would then have five members, as mandated by law.
Through her spokeswoman, Torres said earlier today it was “premature” to discuss the appointments and refrained from commenting on the turn of events.
While neither of the nominees was available for comment, this media outlet learned that Rúa-Jovet has an extensive legal background and prior experience in the telecom field.
According to his LinkedIn profile, he earned his law degree from the University of Puerto Rico School of Law, and holds degrees from the George Washington University National Law Center and Boston College. His expertise focuses on natural resources law, land-use, telecom, administrative, and international law.
From 2001 to 2003, Rúa-Jovet served as legal advisor to then TRB President Phoebe Forsythe-Isales, after which he moved on to the DNER and the Environmental Quality Board. Rúa-Jovet has published articles in national and international journals on subjects such as telecom regulation, natural resources law, public international law and tort matters.
Since leaving government, Rúa-Jovet has been in private legal practice, listing DirecTV and Microsoft among his case-by-case clients. If confirmed, Rúa-Jovet would serve as TRB president for four years.
Meanwhile, Reyes, who retired from Claro/Puerto Rico Telephone in May 2001 after 30 years, has an extensive track record of education and professional experience in the industry. While at PRT, she occupied 10 different positions related to legal, regulatory, financial, technical, customer service, operational and management of both wireless and wired operations.
She is also no stranger to the agency, after having served as legal advisor to several presidents from 2003 to 2010, when she resigned. She was up for the same post in 2005, to fill a vacancy left at the agency.
La Fortaleza will officially announce the new board nominees tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Sen. Ramón Luis Nieves, chairman of the Banking, Insurance and Telecommunications Committee, confirmed Thursday that he has received Rúa-Jovet’s nomination, but refrained from commenting.
“Until we receive the technical report on the nominee and other data required for the evaluation, we will not issue comments on this appointment,” Nieves said.