The National Assembly has two pending impeachment proceedings: one of Carlos Ochoa, former Superintendent of Communication, and another of Carlos Baca Mancheno, attorney general.
The first will be resolved this afternoon. Carlos Bergmann, second vice president and in charge of leading the Legislative, convened the plenary session for the afternoon of Monday, March 12, 2018. At 4:00 pm, the assembly members will decide whether or not to censure the ex-superintendent. However, Ochoa no longer holds public office, because he was dismissed by the Comptroller’s Office, which was executed by the Council of Citizen Participation on March 7.
The Office of the Comptroller fined the ex-superintendent and sanctioned him with the dismissal due to irregularities in his time as director of Gamavisión News, which was seized. For this reason, the political trial can only reach political censorship, as happened with the ex-fugitive former judge of Justice, Carlos Pólit. On January 31, 53 legislators signed the request for trial for alleged breach of the Constitution and laws such as the Comptroller’s Office, Public Service and Human Rights agreements. They also accuse him of abuse of power and of interpreting, at will, the Law. The ex-superintendent will have three hours this afternoon to defend himself. Afterwards, two interpellants will have two hours to question it. And Ochoa will have one more hour of reply.
When he concludes his speech, the former official will leave the Plenary and Bergmann should open the debate for all the legislators. According to the law, anyone can move their censorship and 70 votes will be required to approve it. The Legislature also has in its sights the initiation of a political trial against the Baca Mancheno prosecutor. The decision was taken by the Plenary, with 103 votes in favor last Friday. In their speeches, the assembly members an alleged breach of functions, for not having specified the sanction of persons linked to corruption cases.
However, that vote is a political manifestation of the legislature, which will not be possible without the formal beginning of the process. This was confirmed by all the benches. That is, one or more of the legislators must prepare the documentation and signatures to present the request to the Legislative Administration Council (CAL). That body must review the form of the application and, if it qualifies, send it to the Supervisory Commission.
This, in turn, must summon the interpellant and the Prosecutor to present the evidence of charge and discharge. And finally, the Board will issue a report recommending the start of the trial in the Plenary or its file. Sebastián Palacios, of SUMA, pointed out that there is the intention of all the legislators to carry out the trial. What should be taken into account by the Board and the CAL.
Fabricio Villamar, of Creo, warns that the decision of the Plenary was a “very powerful” announcement. But it indicates that the process must be followed and that they must listen to the evidence of the Prosecutor’s defense to make a decision. Also, the Legislature has pending the appointment of its new President in replacement of José Serrano. The ruling bloc yesterday announced the support of its companion Elizabeth Cabezas for the position. However, on March 11, in the afternoon, meetings were still held to achieve full consensus and add backing to the candidacy. For example, in the opposition, the PSC, Creo and SUMA will not present candidates. The Bank of National Integration and the block of the Alfarista Revolution had planned to move names but they have not made them official yet.
Regarding pending laws, Bergmann convened the plenary session at 3:00 p.m., to process the first debate on the draft reforms to the Citizen Participation Council Law. This, together with the repeal of the Goodwill Law, must be approved until this Friday, March 16. Both, to meet the legal deadlines necessary for its implementation. (I)