SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico House Majority Whip Rolando Crespo has tested positive for cocaine use during a mandatory drug test for legislators in the U.S. territory, the body's top leader said Friday.
House Speaker Jenniffer Gonzalez said she would file a complaint against Crespo with the House ethics committee.
Crespo issued a statement through his spokesman, Carlos Bermudez, saying he accepted the results while calling it an isolated case.
"I accept that I failed. I am human, and I ask the citizens of Puerto Rico for forgiveness. ... I will submit to all processes to rectify this ignorance," Crespo was quoted as saying in the statement.
Gonzalez said Crespo had denied to her that he used drugs. She said he had stepped down as House majority whip.
Shortly after Gonzalez's announcement, Gov. Luis Fortuno said he was indignant about the results and urged Crespo to resign immediately instead of waiting for a decision from the ethics committee.
"This is an uncomfortable and unacceptable situation for both the legislature and for the citizens of Puerto Rico," Fortuno said in a statement.
Gonzalez ordered all House members to undergo a surprise drug test in January.
Test results for Crespo had been repeatedly delayed, leading to accusations that Gonzalez was trying to keep them secret. She denied that during a news conference Friday.
"We were not going to fabricate cases, nor were we going to hide any cases," Gonzalez said. "I am absolutely not hiding anything."
Twitter was abuzz with the news, with dozens of Puerto Ricans criticizing Crespo. Several commenters asked who Crespo was after noting that he was a trending topic on Twitter, with others replying they were embarrassed that Puerto Rico for the first time appeared on the list for such a reason.
Crespo's first results from a drug test earlier this year were never publicized and dismissed for reasons still unclear.
Gonzalez said she asked Crespo to come to San Juan from his native town of Aguadilla on Friday so she could present him with the results.
"He was surprised because he assured me that he did not use drugs," she said.
Gonzalez said making the announcement about Crespo pained her because they are close.
"Legislators are the first ones who have to set an example," she said. "But we are also human beings."
Crespo, a member of the New Progressive Party, was first elected in 2004 and re-elected in 2008. He serves as president of the powerful Rules and Calendar Committee.