Monday, September 20

Nine more defendants in the investigation of the oppositions of Basque Health while the instructor exempts former councilor Darpon

The magistrate in charge of the investigation of the complaints of leaks of exams in the medical examinations of the Basque Health Service (Osakidetza) of 2018, Cristina Rodríguez Ruiz, who is the third who has had the case in these years after Yolanda Varona and Ana Jesús Zulueta, has finally notified more than a month after the term of the case formally expired that it has agreed to an extension of six months. Therefore, as this newspaper advanced, it is possible to continue with the investigations until January 29, 2022. For this reason, this decision is accompanied by an extensive judicial order in which it sets the steps that it will take in the coming months but in which it also the lines that it will not cross are very clear. The instructor has agreed to the imputation of nine more people, opponents and members of the courts, at the same time that she categorically rejects that senior officials of the Basque Government are prosecuted for this matter, among others, the then Minister of Health, Jon Darpón, or the director General of Osakidetza, María Jesús Múgica, both resigned in their day.

The investigation of the leaks in the oppositions of the Basque Health is doomed to an extension until January 2022

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“The persons indicated by the accusation are not part of any association, unless the Basque Government, Osakidetza or IVAP are considered such. [Instituto Vasco de Administración Pública] and it is also intended that these organizations promote the commission of crime or that, using institutional structures, they are promoting illicit conduct. Nor does it appear, even incidentally, that they have formed a ‘parallel’ association or that they have come together for any illicit purpose, or that they have carried out or promoted any illicit conduct. There are no indications in this procedural phase to understand that any of the elements of the type described are present, so the summons as investigated of the persons indicated for this concept does not precede, “argues the magistrate, who is the head of the investigating court. 2. It was the LAB union that had requested that Darpon and Múgica be investigated, as well as the former head of Human Resources, Juan Carlos Soto, the positions of Osakidetza Xabier Balerdi, Andoni Arcelay and Míriam Aparicio and the directors of the IVAP Maite Iruretagoyena and Fulgencio Aledo. In addition to the “illicit association”, the central considered them authors of crimes such as revealing secrets (the judge assures that they never had the questions, so they could not filter them to the opponents), fraud in the hiring, prevarication or refusal to prosecute crimes.

In general terms, the judge dispatches all of LAB’s proposals to advance the case, considering them “useless” and “impertinent”, adjectives that are repeated many times in the judicial resolution. Thus, Rodríguez Ruiz considers that the current head of Osakidetza Human Resources, María Pilar Uriarte, cannot be prosecuted for obstruction of Justice by not delivering the emails requested by the court in a timely manner.

The new defendants were proposed by the other union represented as a popular accusation, ESK. They are Maite Izaguirre, Esther Bravo, Ricardo Asensio, Manuel Hernando Rydings and Claudia Aramendi from the OPE of Angiology, Fe Arcocha, Laura Quintas and Francisco de la Cuesta from Cardiology and the author of the Urology exam, Dr. Javier Extramiana. With them, there are already twenty investigated. The previous eleven are José Luis Cabriada (author of the Digestive examination), César Augusto Valero (Anesthesia), María Reyes Vega (Angiology), Eduvigis Álvarez (Neurophysiology), José Antonio Elexpuru and Covadonga Fernández (Neurosurgery), Iñigo Echevarría (Traumatology) and Thais Salas, Alfredo Martínez Flórez, Andrés Beltrán and Javier Meléndez (opponent and members of the Plastic Surgery tribunal). One of them, Echevarría, has not even made a statement yet.

In the car, at the proposal of the Prosecutor’s Office, the statements of nine witnesses are also accepted. As in some cases they are members of the courts, the magistrate opens the door to indict more opponents of the different categories investigated in the future if the testimony shows evidence of a crime. These witnesses are from the Digestive, Traumatology, Neurophysiology, Angiology and Plastic Surgery exams. In addition, at the proposal of the public prosecutor, the investigation is extended to a new category not mentioned until now, Nephrology. In general, in numerous 2018 OPE medical exams the pattern is repeated that the best marks are achieved by a small group of opponents related to the authors of the questions for working in the same centers. The judge advises, of course, that “the fact of working in the same hospital could give rise to certain suspicions” but that it is not a sufficient element for an accusation, just as it is not to get an excellent grade.

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