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Sicily governor under fire for Lucia Borsellino comment

Lucia Borsellino, daughter of slain anti-mafia prosecutor Paolo Borsellino, said Thursday she was offended by a phrase uttered by Palermo doctor Matteo Titino in a conversation with Sicilian regional governor Rosario Crocetta and intercepted by magistrates in which he reportedly says she should be “stopped and done away with like her father”. “I can only feel intimately offended and ashamed for them,” said Borsellino, who recently quit as Sicily’s executive councillor for health. Meanwhile Crocetta, of Premier Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party (PD), rushed to defend his silence over the phrase, claiming he hadn’t heard it. “I didn’t hear the phrase on Lucia, perhaps there was poor reception, I can’t explain it; in fact on the phone I make no reply. Now I feel awful,” he told ANSA. Excerpts of the conversation between Crocetta and his personal surgeon were anticipated by L’Espresso magazine on its website Thursday. Members of the opposition were quick to react, with the anti-establishment Five-Star Movement calling for Crocetta to resign. “Resign? Am I accused of something? Have I done something? Can Sicily’s fate be linked to a phrase that I didn’t hear, spoken by my doctor? I don’t know” the governor said. Meanwhile Davide Mattiello of the PD, a member of the House anti-mafia commission, called on Crocetta for clarification. “His silence on the telephone could mean various things: I know Crocetta from when he was mayor of Gela and I want to believe it wasn’t a complaisant silence. I want to believe that in that silence there was already a de facto disassociation. But it is important that Crocetta explains,” he said. Tutino was arrested in June on charges of fraud, falsehood embezzlement and abuse of office in relation to cosmetic surgeries performed at the Villa Sofia hospital in Palermo where he works. Borsellino resigned from the regional council shortly afterwards. “Now I understand Lucia’s reaction,” Crocetta said.

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