Embattled Puerto Rico governor poised to resign: report

Nelson del Castillo with Leila Macor in Miami
Puerto Ricans had waited expectantly for the announcement throughout the day, as rumors of the governor's forthcoming resignation swirled (AFP Photo/Eric Rojas)

San Juan (AFP) - Puerto Rico's embattled governor was reportedly preparing to resign Wednesday, yielding to huge street protests in the US territory triggered by the release of a chat exchange in which he and others mocked gays, women and hurricane victims.

Governor Ricardo Rossello has recorded a video to be released sometime during the day in which he announces his resignation, the newspaper El Nuevo Dia reported.

The government denied that Rossello had already resigned and also shot down reports that he has left the island -- but left his future in the post open to question.

"Governor Ricardo Rossello has not resigned and is still in Puerto Rico," spokesman Anthony Maceira said in a statement.

"Whatever decision he makes, it will be announced officially, as per our custom."

Former justice secretary Antonio Sagardia said earlier on Radio Isla that he had spoken to Rossello on Tuesday -- and that his resignation was forthcoming.

"The governor is convinced," said Sagardia.

Rossello is staring into the abyss over the chat scandal and allegations of corruption involving money that was supposed to help victims of Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico in 2017 and killed nearly 3,000 people.

Huge crowds of Puerto Ricans have been demonstrating regularly since pages and pages of chat exchanges were made public in which Rossello and 11 other men make fun of gays, journalists, women and hurricane victims.

As recently as Tuesday, Rossello insisted he would not step down.

But besides Llerandi, more than a dozen other government officials have already resigned in the wake of the scandal.