Castillo defended himself with arguments |  In the strange political trial that the far right mounts and debates in Lima

Castillo defended himself with arguments | In the strange political trial that the far right mounts and debates in Lima

From Lima

At the time of the closing, the Peruvian Congress was debating a request for the impeachment of President Pedro Castillo for alleged “moral incapacity”, a day which began Monday afternoon. It’s a charge promoted by the far right, which already failed last December in a first attempt to remove from the presidency the rural teacher and left-wing trade unionist who defeated them in the 2021 election. Calculations revealed that this second attempt by the right to give a parliamentary coup would not happen either. The far-right coup bloc has 43 votes, while opposite, in defense of the president, the ruling party has 44 votes, the exact number to block a request for impeachment, which requires the support of 87 of 130 lawmakers to be approved. .of the unicameral Congress. Speeches by members of the various center-right groups, a motley third bloc that brings together the remaining 43 parliamentarians, revealed that there would be no uniform vote in this sector. This scenario heralded the defeat of the putsch. Even the far right could see the 76-vote backing that two weeks ago backed starting the impeachment process against Castillo reduced. This would aggravate his defeat. On the outskirts of the Congress, there were demonstrations for and against the government.

The accusatory statement with which it is planned to impeach the president includes accusations of alleged corruption in tenders which are being investigated by the prosecution and in which there are no conclusions on responsibilities , questions about the performance of certain ministers, what is unusually presented as the “moral incapacity” of the president for having appointed them, the existence of a supposed “shadow cabinet” which would be composed of a group of advisers, meetings in front of the Palace of the government in what the press calls “a parallel office”, criticizing journalistic statements by the head of state – such as saying that he was not ready to be president or offering a possible exit by sea to Bolivia , and even accusations against third parties who are accused against the president.

Castillo’s one-day express impeachment trial, held the day the government is eight months old, began with the president’s presentation to Congress. It was brief, he spoke only twelve minutes. “Everyone knows that the vacancy motion (dismissal) does not contain a single element that validly supports it,” he pleaded in his defense. “The vacancy document was prepared primarily in consideration of biased, contradictory and unsubstantiated journalistic reports. He has no valid evidence or arguments. We only find sayings without any corroboration, speculation, imaginary connections. It is not based on facts, on the law and lacks evidence.

He wondered if he would be charged again for facts already found in a previous dismissal request rejected last December, such as alleged pressure for military promotions, a subject under investigation. Initial investigations determined that the president had asked for a few officers, but had not imposed any promotions. “It violates the right not to be prosecuted and tried twice for the same act,” Castillo said.

“Facts that have to do with the actions of other people are reported (in the prosecution). How is it possible that I will be accused and punished for the actions of third parties? All cases (indicted) are in the preliminary investigation stage, prosecutors haven’t even filed a charge. How can he be sanctioned by using unsubstantiated facts?” asked the president.

He assured that he is not opposed to the facts for which he is accused being the subject of an investigation, but insisted on questioning the fact that he is destined to be condemned before the investigation. “Unfortunately, the vacancy has become the central axis of the political and journalistic agenda since my election, this cannot continue. Rejecting this motion of vacancy does not mean that the questions will not continue to be studied, on the contrary, we are ready to continue collaborating with the investigations and the competent bodies”.

“I ask you to vote for democracy, for Peru, against instability”, was the request with which he closed his presentation, in which he called for unity.

After his plea, Castillo left the post to his lawyer, José Palomino, and left the room without staying to listen to him. When the lawyer began to exhibit, Fujimori lawmaker Vivian Olivos placed a poster on her seat that read “Vacancia Ya” in an act of provocation. The provocation had an effect. The ruling party protested, shouting broke out and the sitting had to be adjourned for about an hour. Castillo had retired prior to the incident. When the lawyer took over the defense of the president, his presentation, which lasted about an hour, continued in line with what the president had said that the accusation was based on facts without evidence, cases in course of investigation, accusations against third parties, therefore which had no support. The lawyer dove into the details and legal citations.

Ruling party spokesman Waldemar Cerrón opened the debate. He described as “undemocratic” the behavior of the opposition which calls for the dismissal of the president. He recalled that these same sectors ignored Castillo’s legitimate electoral victory alleging non-existent electoral fraud. “They will never accept Castillo as president,” he said. He called the charges against the president “slander” and “defamation”.

Ruth Luque, spokeswoman for the progressive coalition Together for Peru, criticized the right-wing coup and endorsed her support for the president, but said the president “must rectify”. Castillo is asked about the appointments of maligned figures who have complicated the government and a withdrawal of much of the proposed change policies.

Resigned to defeat, Fujimorista spokesman Hernando Guerra García admitted that “the votes (for the vacancy) might not be obtained”. Regarding the lack of evidence in the charges against the president, he responded by saying that evidence is not needed to impeach and impeach him “because it is a political forum, not a judicial one.” In other words, for Fujimorism in the “political forum”, anything goes, even impeaching a legitimate president with accusations without evidence. Other representatives of the putschist right have followed the same line, acknowledging that their accusations lack solid evidence. The far right took advantage of the day and the cameras broadcasting the session live to shoot the president with attacks of all kinds.

Castillo has come to this impeachment process weakened: according to a survey by the Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP), his acceptance has fallen to 24%, while the rejection of his administration is at 68%. But the right-wing controlled Congress that wants to impeach him has high discredit, with 79% rejection and only 17% support.

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