How has your week been? All good?
First things first: I would like to remind you that the period for voting on the Statute of elDiario.es is now open. If you haven’t done so yet, you can vote from here. Thanks for participating!
You will have already found out that the electoral campaign has formally begun. The most obvious symptom? That ETA has become the main topic of debate in Spanish politics. And it is that it does not fail: whenever we talk about ETA, it is that we are a few weeks away from voting.
That a terrorist group that went down in history a decade ago is the main electoral argument of the right in municipal and regional elections is as disappointing as it is tiresome. So I’m not going to insist more: everything I had to say on this matter is in this article that I published yesterday.
Let’s talk better about something else: justice, which is one of my favorite topics and is very topical.
If one day you have to go to trial, don’t do what José Manuel Baltar has done.
The president of the Provincial Council of Ourense, –Baltar II, the second of his name in a dynasty that has been in that chair for three decades– was hunted with a radar at 215 kilometers per hour in the official car. Which is not only a huge imprudence: it is also a criminal offense, which has led him to trial. In a political moment that the PP is doing very badly.
Baltar has done everything possible so that there is no sentence before the elections. You can already imagine the reason: having a convicted person at the head of a Provincial Council does not seem the most exemplary for a party that boasts of being “constitutionalist”.
This Tuesday, Baltar had to be in Puebla de Sanabria (Zamora) for the quick trial for his speed record. But he didn’t show up. He argued that his lawyer didn’t like the date because he had another appointment in another court. They also did not want to testify by videoconference, despite the fact that this option existed.
The judge, obviously annoyed, reconvened the trial for two days later: for Thursday at nine in the morning. That time came and Baltar, again, did not appear. Neither did his lawyer. They only sent a letter, through a solicitor, where Baltar stated “his will not to appear today” with the surreal argument that his lawyer had master’s classes. It’s literal. They did not use the famous excuse that the dog had eaten the homework by chance.
The judge again responded. And she told the president of the Provincial Council that, beyond her “will”, appearing before the court is not optional. And that if she continued down that path, she could sanction him.
The usual thing when a defendant does not appear twice at a trial is that his arrest is ordered. Something that this time did not happen. Because a few hours later, at 1:30 p.m., Baltar finally testified, electronically, before the judge. That he gave him this third chance (something that with other alleged criminals is not very normal either).
Exhausted the way of teasing the judge, Baltar changed his strategy. He refused to accept the proposed sentence proposed by the Prosecutor’s Office – a six-month fine and a year without a driver’s license – to force no sentence. The play came out: the quick trial will be changed to a standard trial, before the Provincial Court of Zamora. To be held on May 31: three days after the elections. It is a success for Baltar.
It is not the first time that Baltar smokes a court date with a peculiar excuse. On another occasion, he did not go to court because he had a trip to Eurodisney. And he snuck.
After escaping from the court, the same Thursday, Baltar started the electoral campaign in Galicia, next to the president of the Xunta, Alfonso Rueda. In case someone thought that driving 215 and avoiding the judges was going to have some reproach in the PP.
If one day you have a trial, if you sit in the dock, do not try to follow the strategy of the chief of Ourense. I doubt it will work for you.
In line with the judicial leaks of the Baltar fireball, I have recalled another episode not too distant to which, at the time, little attention was paid. Because Baltar is not a pioneer: he just follows the path that his leaders marked before him.
In January of this year, Alberto Núñez Feijóo was called to testify by a judge who was investigating a lawsuit from various members of the PP in Salamanca, who denounced a series of irregularities in the party.
Despite the judicial summons, the president of the PP did not attend, and spent the morning in Fitur. In a statement, he argued that he “was not president of the PP at the time the events occurred” and that “technical party personnel aware of the required data” would go instead.
The judge, as expected, got angry. Because court summonses are personal and non-transferable, and it is mandatory to attend. “That Mr. Feijóo would have come and he would have told me that he knows absolutely nothing about this matter and I cannot inform him of anything. He is eluding the decision of this court, ”criticized the judge during the trial. But she didn’t do anything else: she could have, but she didn’t fine him.
Feijóo’s rudeness came free. As usual.
Skipping a court summons had no consequence for Feijóo. Lying in court was also costless for Rajoy.
If you have a good memory you will certainly remember it. In 2017, Rajoy was called to testify as a witness in the Gürtel case. Something that the then President of the Government felt quite bad. From the PP, they did the impossible to avoid his declaration. But they didn’t make it. So finally Rajoy had to testify.
Important fact: in a trial, defendants have the right to lie. But the witnesses don’t; They are required by law to tell the truth. And if they don’t, they commit a crime of perjury, which is punishable by up to two years in prison.
Before the Gürtel judges, Rajoy breached this obligation. And I’m not saying it: the sentence itself in this case says it, where it is stated that his testimony “did not have any credibility” when he denied the existence of box B of the PP and the bonuses. A B box that is already more than proven in several firm sentences.
One year after the declaration before the Gürtel court, one of the popular accusations tried to denounce Rajoy for false testimony. That attempt did not prosper.
The one who did prosper was the only Gürtel judge who voted in favor of acquitting the Popular Party in that trial. His name is Ángel Hurtado and he is the same magistrate who also tried to prevent Rajoy from being called to testify. In 2020, the acting General Council of the Judiciary promoted him to the Supreme Court. A lifetime position, until his retirement.
At that time, the CGPJ had had its mandate expired for almost two years. An anomalous situation that, since then, has gotten worse. This year, the governing body of the judges will serve five years without renewal. A whole five years, as long as a normal mandate lasts.
This week, Feijóo has once again made it clear that he is not going to comply with his constitutional mandate. He will not renew the CGPJ until the law is changed. A position towards life, which again, do not try to repeat at home. Refusing to comply with the law until they change it to another to your liking is very likely to end badly.
And while Feijóo once again makes it clear that he is not going to renew the CGPJ, Spanish judges and prosecutors go on strike. Against the blockade of the PP that is collapsing some important courts? Of course not.
“It’s a political strike,” argues Elisa Beni in this interesting article. Where he explains several interesting facts to understand the situation.
It turns out that the Government has proposed a salary increase of almost 500 euros per month for judges and prosecutors. It is not a small thing, taking into account that they are already among the best paid public servants: they earn an average of 75,000 euros gross per year, above what is paid in other European countries.
The Progressive Union of Prosecutors asked its bases if they accepted this agreement. He won the yes by 94.81% of the votes.
But the conservative associations of judges and prosecutors not only did not consult their bases. It is that they did not even transfer this offer, arguing that they could not do so because of “the secrecy commitment” they had with the Government. “Dirty lie,” criticizes Beni. With good reason.
Because this unprecedented strike by judges and prosecutors in the middle of the electoral campaign has become a political strike. In favor of a right that, in the courts, achieves miracles that no one else can achieve.
Warning: do not try to repeat on your own what these superheroes of constitutionalism do. Because you are not Baltar, nor Feijóo, nor Rajoy. Taking Justice by the serene’s dick is not going to work for you.
Have a good week. And if you go on a trip, don’t go too fast. That you do not have an official car and you will have to pay the fines, the car and the gasoline out of your own pocket. As if you were one more.
PS I insist: do not forget to vote for the Statute of elDiario.es. And thanks for your support!