The investigation of the Kitchen case has revealed the contempt for the legality with which a group of politicians and police officers in the Ministry of the Interior worked during the first term of Mariano Rajoy. Added to this is a patrimonialization of public resources and a perversion of administrative procedures that crystallize in the marketing of police decorations, as evidenced by the record of the award of the most important that can be awarded in life, the Medal of Silver for Merit, which was received by the architect of the political brigade, Commissioner Eugenio Pino, on the occasion of his retirement, and which carries a lifetime pension of 15% of his salary.
The seven defendants of the political brigade were awarded during the government of Rajoy with a pensioned medal
In a single day, the Director of the Police, Ignacio Cosidó, appointed a “special investigating judge” of the file and secretary. It was on May 23, 2016. Immediately, both officials certified that they had received the order at the same time that they considered it resolved. That same day, the Secretary General of the Personnel Division, Jacobo Orellana, wrote: “Given the brilliant professional career of Mr. Pino Sánchez, and it is evident that he has held the position of Deputy Chief Operating Officer of the General Directorate of the Police, it is estimated that it is not necessary to carry out proceedings, so this summary file must be considered concluded ”.
The record of the awarding of the medal to Pino has been sent to the congressional commission that investigates the para-police espionage of Luis Bárcenas out of the reserved funds. Several aspects are evident from its reading: the first, that the procedure was a formalism without any depth that hid the only will to execute an order. The second, that this order came exclusively from the Minister of the Interior, Jorge Fernández Díaz, no matter how much in the statements of those investigated in Congress and before the judge they always appeal to a regulated administrative process and collegiate decisions, both in the concession of medals as of privileged destinations in embassies.
And thirdly, the procedure used serves to verify the role of the then director of the Police, Ignacio Cosidó, in a permanent effort to hold on to the position without being involved in irregularities, despite the awarding of the medal and other issues that currently they are the subject of judicial investigation necessarily bear your signature. So far, Cosidó has managed to be the only member of the command ladder in the police leadership and in the Ministry of that time who has escaped the accusation.
“Dear Ignacio: Following the instructions of the Minister, I ask you to process as quickly as possible the award of the Silver Medal for Police Merit to the Deputy Director of Operations, Chief Commissioner Mr. Eugenio Pino Sánchez, on the occasion of his forthcoming retirement.” With these words and “a big hug”, the chief of staff of Fernández Díaz in 2016, Javier Conde, wrote on May 12 to the director of the Police. Said and done, the process would take only three weeks, and Eugenio Pino retired having directed the police and extrajudicial maneuvers against Catalan separatism and against Podemos.
The award of the Silver Medal for Police Merit was published in the BOE on June 2. Before that, there had been time for it to be endorsed by the Governing Board of the National Police, for Cosidó to raise his proposal to the minister, despite starting from the latter, and for Fernández Díaz to sign the ministerial order.
The letter from Fernández Díaz’s chief of staff entered the General Directorate of the Police on May 20. Three days later, Cosidó ordered the investigation of the file to examine the merits and endorse, where appropriate, the decoration. Police sources linked to this type of procedure assure that, despite being mandatory, it is not usual for the general director to order a file, and they interpret that either he anticipated problems in the future with the award of the medal or he simply did not agree, for much that the order to open it says otherwise.
“For the prestige of the Police”
In his writing, Cosidó says that there is “evidence” that Eugenio Pino has developed a “meritorious career” as deputy operational director, “excelling in the fulfillment of the duties of his position, directing the performance of outstanding services that have resulted in prestige for the Corporation ”. On the same page, Cosidó designates a special examining judge and secretary for the record of the award of the medal. Eugenio Pino is currently on trial in part 7 of the Villarejo case as one of those responsible for the operation to blow up the case of box B of the PP from the very bowels of the Ministry of the Interior.
The controversy over the use of medals with economic allocation is old in the Police. To this day, his press office still does not provide the reasons why they are granted to each agent and only parliamentary or judicial initiatives allow a generic mention to be made public. “Meritorious professional work”, it is said in the files sent by the medals awarded to the members of the political brigade prosecuted in the Kitchen case. All of them were awarded the Red Medal of Police Merit, with a pension equivalent to 10% of their salary for life.
The law governing the awarding of medals in the Police dates from 1964 and it is signed by the dictator Francisco Franco. For the concession of “the red one”, as it is known in the Corps, it is necessary to have participated in a service with risk to the life of the police officer. The law has been systematically broken by different governments. At the time referred to, Ignacio Cosidó awarded one of these pensioned medals to his chief escort. Pino did the same with his secretaries or with the chief inspector who heads the Police press office.
As for the Silver Medal in life, the concessions policy had been very restrictive until this year, when the current Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, decided to award it to four commissioners who are retiring, including Héctor García Moreno , condemned for torture in the eighties and acquitted by the Government of José María Aznar. The article of the Francoist law that establishes the merits is especially vague in its wording and includes a trajectory that has resulted in the “prestige of the Corporation”, as Ignacio Cosidó was commissioned to write for the case of Eugenio Pino.