President peter castle faces a difficult situation due to statements by his former secretary Bruno Pachecowho betrays him as one of the brains that encouraged his escape and, furthermore, as the architect of other alleged crimes.
The National Prosecutor, Patricia Benavidezpreliminarily investigates the president. The debate is still open about what should be done in case it is verified that heaven and earth have been moving from the presidential office to hinder the investigations.
The Republic spoke with five criminal lawyers to find possible paths. In the midst of the scattered positions, what is coincidental among the explanations collected, is that the prosecutor Benavides will only be able to formalize a preparatory investigation against Castillo only when he leaves office or is dismissed. The vacancy, due to the number of votes it implies -Congress needs 87-, is a utopia, for now. However, there are two controversial ways: that the Judiciary suspend him from office as a precautionary measure or that Congress disqualifies him from public office, appealing to impeachment.
His suspension before the PJ
“I believe that the commission of the crime is constituted by a closed group (of the president). It is Castillo supported by a sector of the DINI. The successful escape (of Pacheco, his former minister John Silva and his nephew Fray Vásquez) is not a product of chance. To say no would be extremely naive. Due to its successful purpose, it has to have State participation,” said former attorney Antonio Maldonado.
In that case, added the prosecutor, the Prosecutor’s Office could request the suspension of the president. “I think so. Should. This has been sustained by lawyers César Azabache and Luciano López. There is a crime in progress and the Prosecutor’s Office could reflect on what to do to stop a crime in progress, ”he referred.
Lawyer Carlos Caro gave a similar opinion online, under the premise that this time there may be an exception. “There are two completely parallel paths (the suspension request and the disqualification due to impeachment). The judicial route has a legal limitation: the law says that the suspension does not proceed in positions of popular election, but that prohibition could be set aside by a judge taking into account that the Constitution is above. Judges can fail to apply a law when it goes against the Constitution”, he emphasized.
While the lawyer Rafael Chanjan considers that the alternative is the disqualification of the president, through impeachment. Once this is done, with Castillo out of office, only the Prosecutor’s Office could formalize the preparatory investigation, if it has the elements, and request restrictive measures. “The possibilities of suspension go more through an issue linked to Congress. I see this route more as viable and not so much because of the suspension of rights because there is an express prohibition”, he argued.
In the same way, the lawyer Liliana Calderón commented, for whom, once the president was disqualified, “there the preparatory investigation could be formalized.” “As these cases are framed in the organized crime law, the Public Ministry has 36 months to carry out the preliminary investigation,” pointed out.
For his part, the lawyer Jorge Andrés Zúñiga shares the thesis that the way for the Public Ministry not to have legal obstacles in requesting measures that prevent the obstruction of justice from the presidency is with the impeachment of Castillo in Congress, which has the maximum sanction of disqualification from public office for up to 10 years.
The scenario of the congressional trial becomes more acute, above all, if the Prosecutor’s Office proves that the president helped his former secretary, his former minister and his nephew to evade justice. “Yes, of course, it can be a constitutional infraction, but on the one hand you have the presumption of innocence and on the other you have that he apparently helped to escape. Finally, beyond the legal plane, we must not lose sight of the fact that Congress is a political jurisdiction”, stressed the professor of the Academy of the Judiciary.
The president cannot sue
On Sunday, President Pedro Castillo threatened ‘Panorama’ with filing a defamation lawsuit. The Sunday newspaper had released a testimony by Bruno Pacheco, who claimed that former minister Juan Silva gave money to the president in exchange for him appointing Hugo Chávez Arévalo as head of Petroperú. According to criminal lawyer Carlos Caro, the eventual complaint would be dismissed because Pacheco is an effective collaborator and this process must be completed.
Antonio Maldonado, former attorney
“It seems to me that it has enormous validity (Bruno Pacheco’s testimony) and corroborates the initial suspicions and is on its way to being part of the indicative elements of a group of elements of the Public Ministry”.
Jorge Andrés Zúñiga, criminal lawyer
“The Criminal Procedure Code regulates the preventive suspension for crimes that have a penalty of disqualification, but in the case of the president I see it as unlikely because the measures depend on the procedural state.”
Liliana Calderón, criminal lawyer
“Any natural or legal person can request to be an effective collaboratorwith the understanding that he can provide information that will be corroborated by the Public Ministry to be presented before a judge.”
Rafael Chanjan, criminal lawyer
“The Prosecutor’s Office has the power to ensure its investigations through a series of actions. For example, within the scope of its possibilities, request the impediment of leaving the country of the investigated subjects”.
Carlos Caro, criminal lawyer
“You can file the complaint (of defamation), but it can be rejected outright because Pacheco is an effective collaborator and a judge cannot sentence for defamation until the effective collaboration has ended.”