Heanalyzed the work of his team in the Balda case. He said that Caupolicán Ochoa,the lawyer of former president Correa, tried to seek the nullity of the processbecause he knew it was sinking. He lost some clients for defending thepolitician.
Felipe Rodríguez is a young lawyer with a Ph.D in Criminal Law and two international masters. But, in addition, he is the defense lawyer of Fernando Balda, who was kidnapped in an operation of the former National Secretariat of Intelligence (Senain), by order of the ex-president Rafael Correa.
That confirmed the resolution of Judge Daniella Camacho, last Tuesday. Rodriguez stopped at his work for 16 hours a day and talked about this case.
What lesson does the case of the kidnapping of Balda leave?
Justice has been done. Sometimes it leaves us a little bad taste because Correa is called to trial, but he cannot be judged because he is a fugitive. In the crime of plagiarism there is no room for prosecution in absentia. We must all remember that power is not eternal and that there are limits. Politicians and authorities must respect human rights because otherwise everything can explode in their faces. I see the friends of José Serrano, former Minister of the Interior and former president of the Assembly, who were very powerful people and today they are in the street. A human being, with or without power, is always a human being. They need to put their feet on the ground. After these cases, politics is so disgusting. Correa insists on saying that he is a political persecuted. He is not. He destroyed many people. He must come back and stand up for what he did. He has a psychopathy because for him everything he is fine and we are crazy. Lie, but not consciously. He also says that they attack him because they cannot beat him at the polls. I answer, I am not a candidate, I bring you to my court and beat me here, if you are innocent. But it turns out that he is not.
Can we think that impunity is over?
It did not end. Corruption will always exist, but I will fight against it until it beats my heart. Sometimes it is not only because of a person’s illness, but because of the idiosyncrasy. For example, a civil judge told me: “I have a case of moral damage. A and B face each other, B is right and A must pay $ 200,000 for it. ” According to him, “it’s not fair that the month ends and I earn $ 4,000 and my client gets thousands of dollars. It’s fair that he wins, but share.”
How do we break that? With education?
No, corruption is fought with prison and you have to set an example. How did you see Caupolicán Ochoa’s defense? He has been a gentleman. I know his house in Cuenca and we have even worked in some cases together. I would not have wanted to be Correa’s lawyer in this case. We have so much overwhelming evidence against the former president that it would not have been easy to get out of this. Ochoa tried to defend the form and not the background, tried to seek the nullity of the process because he knew it was sinking, but that fell out and when he spoke of the background was dragged by the evidence.
Balda will present a new complaint against the former president for alleged embezzlement.
Yes, we showed with Senain documents that Correa and his cronies used public resources for kidnapping. That is a crime and it is very clear. The Office of the Prosecutor has to investigate.
What options does Correa have?
Surrender and spend some 16 years in prison or being a fugitive for life, if he is prosecuted for embezzlement.
How was your work and team in the Balda case?
I have worked intensely in this case since 2014. The team is made up of Jairo Lalaleo; Eduardo León; and the assistants Gabriela Maldonado and María Emilia Fiallo. We have dedicated many hours to the defense of Balda. For example, we dedicate three hours a day during the last three months to prepare the private prosecution hearing.
Your speech at the hearing was seven hours. How can you talk so much?
I do not use any memory help, I play with the file, I open it, I see the number of the page and I remember what it says. In this case I did that with 104 bodies, each with 100 sheets. That is why I delayed so much, file by file. It is part of memory.
You do not charge Balda. What do you live out of?
I did not charge you a penny. Balda owes me $ 594 for copies, there’s no way to charge him yet. He does not pay me because he does not have anything. It does not matter, we put it in return. We are also lawyers for Galo Lara, the last politician we will defend in the next three years. We do not charge Lara copies, for example. And many cases have been free.
How many cases do you handle?
We have 215 active cases, larger than those of Balda; that is one of the smallest. But we charge for the rest and thanks to that we make free political cases. I also have another reason, I would feel terrible to say that “I put Correa in prison for $ 100,000.” Ugly. Do I make a home for money? No, those cases should not be charged, even for image and tranquility. Tomorrow my children will tell me: “Hey, great historic triumph, you became a millionaire with that!”. It’s not free.
You also defended the ex-advisor of Alianza PAIS (AP), Norma Vallejo.
Yes, there I paid something symbolic for the work: $ 250 to each of them, which was for expenses. The rest of the cases move to this office. While we prepare the information of Balda, before it explodes, we win the case of Mauro Terán, ex-adviser of the mayor Mauricio Rodas. That defense was a lot of effort, but we released him from jail. This task is difficult because you have thousands of stories in your head. You have to know a lot and have a great work team like ours. Criminal Law is like being a “surgeon”.
Defending Balda has given him a lot of visibility and he has become an opinion leader. Visibility is good and bad. Here comes the interesting story: the Balda case has reduced us 67% of the income in this legal study. Why? Before the political case, the important businessman does not call you, but the humble people.
Many do not know the difference between Criminal and Civil Law. A lady from Lago Agrio called me and said: “Sir, I have a food trial and my husband does not want to give me the money. If you beat the Mashi, you can imprison my children’s father.”
People say that the proposals are going to rain. That’s right, but they are not my specialty. His rich clients are left. Many have left; the multinationals see you in a fight against Correa and say that one day he could return. Another argument: they do not want to be named because they defend an oil company.
I will continue in my work in social cases, but I am also tired and it has been exhausting. I release it all every morning with boxing, that’s why my knuckles are injured. My colleagues warn me: “You know you have more clients, people who pay and you are still in Balda, Balda and Balda!”. I have done very well as a lawyer, I cannot complain. Many enter my office and say “Oops, this is active lava.
They have to see my client portfolio. I pay 100% of my income. “Are you the son of Jorge Rodríguez Torres, who has fought his whole life against corruption? I learned my mother’s bad nights. When my father was of Civic Control of Corruption, of the government of Alarcón, we had a bad time because of political pressures. They threatened us all the time, we were afraid.
Then mydad went to the Anti-Corruption Commission and the hell starts. He justdenounced the Manduriacu case, in 24 hours they closed his office and lost hismoney. They took away his insurer’s license and he was left with nothing, justthe house. The bar was closed to my sister. The persecution was so great thatthey even erased me from the Council of the Judiciary and I could not defend myown father. (I)