Sofia Espin struggled to smile nervously. At her side, her teammates Cristóbal Lloret and Pabel Muñoz had a visage. It was not for less: the appearance of Diana Falcón, protected witness of the Balda case, before the Commission that investigates the improper visit made by Espín in the detention center where she is detained, was forceful. In her first public appearance, Falcón confirmed everything she had said through her lawyer: that Espín and Yadira Cadena, members of Rafael Correa’s defense team, offered her asylum in Belgium, help through the United Nations and even money in exchange for her recanting her testimony. In addition, she confirmed what was established by the accusation of Esteban Bernal (CREO) based on the report of Nancy Guamba, coordinator of the prison, namely: that the visitors, to enter, passed themselves off as members of their team of defense lawyers.
“Tell me what you need to help you, tell me if it’s money, we can get what you need,” says Falcon, who was offered by Espin during her visit. In another part of the conversation, which according to the video of the Ministry of Justice lasted 25 minutes, she said: “What we need is that you retract what you said, you know that that can affect Rafael Correa and we can help you with a good lawyer and we can help you with an asylum in Belgium, where you will give Rafael Correa. Besides, you are innocent and we can help you with the UN and human rights.” According to Falcón, lawyer Cadena told her that she had also visited Raúl Chicaiza, the other protected witness in the case, detained in prison 4: “I have even offered him money,” she said, “but he has tricked me because he says he’s already going to think”. And on several occasions they insisted that he retract.
The accumulated tensions made a dent in Falcon’s spirit and they overflowed when she remembered how Espin and Cadena asked her to think about Correa and his family. Then she exploded: “Rafael Correa has thought about my family? Have you thought I’m imprisoned? ” And she broke down in tears. “How does she want me to think about his family, Rafael Correa had many years to help me, now I will continue telling the truth.” And ended with a blunt phrase: “So they see what kind of assembly we are.”
Falcon was the third person to appear yesterday before the parliamentary commission, on its first day of deliberations. She did it by videoconference from the detention center and in the company of his lawyer, Diego Chimbo. Esteban Bernal, author of the sworn complaint against Espín, and the Minister of Justice (e), Paúl Granda, passed by. At the end of the day it was the turn of the defendant, Sofia Espin, who denied all the testimony of Falcón, but was mainly concerned with delegitimizing the parliamentary investigation process with procedural arguments and entangled disquisitions on formalities that seemed to be directed more towards a court of justice that a commission investigating the Assembly. That she has been denied the right to defense, she said precisely while he was exercising it, and that everything is about political persecution.
In fact, the entire correísta strategy, pushed mainly by Bairon Valle, a member of the Commission, consisted of trying to boycott the development of the process for procedural and procedural reasons. In a last and desperate attempt to stop the disaster, Valle tried to prevent the appearance of Falcon arguing that his status as a protected witness prevents him from giving testimony for security reasons. According to him, this condition does not prevent him, however, from receiving unannounced visits from an attorney of the counterpart.
Thus, the Commission faces a dilemma: it is the word of Falcón in front of the word of Espín. However, from the appearances of Esteban Bernal – the complainant – and Paul Granda – the minister – there is one fact that is clear: Espín and Yadira Cadena entered the detention center posing as those who were not and violated all the visiting protocols that they govern in Ecuadorian prisons.
A diverse public
To Sofía Espín the shot came back. She tried to recuse, as if she were a judge, one of the members of the Commission, Fernando Callejas (CREO), accusing him of having advanced criteria against him. With video in between, Callejas showed that also the correísta Bairon Valle had advanced criteria in his favor. But this is not a court, added. (I)