The Senate is rehearsing a move to overturn the decision of Minister Luís Roberto Barroso, of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), which determined the removal of Senator Chico Rodrigues (DEM-RR) for 90 days. The idea is to react to Barroso’s “canetada” and push the discussion about the future of Rodrigues’ mandate to the Ethics Council, which is not working because of the coronavirus pandemic, even if the STF plenary session keeps the magistrate’s decision. The situation may give the senator survival.
In order to avoid further wear and tear, colleagues suggest that Rodrigues ask for his own license. In addition, many investigated senators, some of them defendants of Lava Jato, are also concerned that the STF will start to interfere in the legislature.
An ally of President Jair Bolsonaro, Rodrigues was caught by the Federal Police (PF) with R $ 33.1 thousand in his underwear on Wednesday, 14. The operation investigates diversion of resources in the fight against the coronavirus. The scheme of embezzlement of money to face the pandemic was identified by the PF and the Federal Comptroller General (CGU). Faced with the scandal, Bolsonaro removed Rodrigues from the post of deputy government leader in the Senate. In a note, the senator said he would prove his innocence.
The Supreme Court’s decision, however, only becomes practical if the Senate endorses the removal. The President of the House, Davi Alcolumbre (DEM-AP), has not yet communicated what the referral for the case will be. Waiting to get support to run for re-election in charge of the Senate, Alcolumbre takes the matter, for now, in a “double boiler”. The reappointment of presidents of the Chamber and the Senate, in the same legislature, is prohibited by the Constitution.
Rodrigues’ situation is expected to be discussed at a meeting of party leaders next week. Until then, the main chiefs of the Senate opted for silence and avoid publicly positioning themselves on the situation. According to reports made privately, there is a feeling of “self-protection” among parliamentarians.
In the coming days, the Senate will have to make two decisions in relation to Chico Rodrigues. First, if it is going to endorse or reverse the removal determined by Barroso – which still has to be judged by the STF plenary. Second, there will be progress or no progress in the House Ethics Council, which are slower, as they require technical notes, space for the senator’s defense, report presentation, voting in the collegiate and in the plenary.
“We cannot remain silent seeing this interference of the Supreme in the Legislative Power, in the case of the Senate. We will gather all the senators so that we come out urgently as a position, call Senator Chico Rodrigues to the Ethics Council so that he can explain himself or no and from then on the senator gives the verdict “, said senator Angelo Coronel (PSD-BA), member of the collegiate. “It is the role of the Senate to revoke or not the mandate of a senator, and not of the Supreme Federal Court.”
In 2017, senators returned the mandate to Aécio Neves
To react to the Supreme Court decision, senators will appeal to the case of Aécio Neves (PSDB-MG) in 2017. At the time, the Senate barred a Supreme Court decision and returned the mandate to the toucan, investigated for passive corruption and obstruction of justice in the case of JBS. On that occasion, the Senate’s Advocacy issued an opinion stating that a parliamentary mandate can never be suspended by unilateral act of the Judiciary.
“We have to overturn the decision, yes. The Senate should not accept this usurpation of power. The way to punish the senator is the Ethics Council and then the Plenary. And we have to do that,” said Senator Plínio Valério (PSDB -AM). “A minister, whoever he is, cannot take a senator’s mandate just because he does not like politicians. There is a right way to do so, which is certainly not the pen of Minister Barroso.”
Citizenship and Network trigger Council to revoke senator’s mandate
On Friday, 16, the Citizenship and Sustainability Network called the Senate Ethics Council to open a process of losing the senator’s mandate. Based on an investigation by the Federal Police, the captions indicate that the senator may have taken advantage of the values of parliamentary amendments for companies hired by the government, received an undue advantage and committed crimes such as embezzlement, money laundering and criminal organization.
The decision to proceed with the request rests with the president of the Senate Ethics Council, Jayme Campos (DEM-MT), after a preliminary analysis by the Advocacia da Casa. On Thursday, 17, however, in an interview with Estadão / Broadcast Político, Campos ruled out the possibility of authorizing the analysis of any representation in the period when the Senate commissions are paralyzed, due to the covid-19 pandemic. The justification is the limitation for face-to-face meetings. “It affects people’s lives. Remotely, you can’t judge a senator from the Republic,” he said.
In Congress, there are those who evaluate that the conclusion of the case in the Ethics Council will be for next year, because of the municipal elections. “Time is short. I find it very difficult for the Ethics Council to judge this year,” said Senator Lasier Martins (Pode-RS), who is preparing a petition asking Senate President Davi Alcolumbre (DEM-AP) to rule with urgently, in the plenary, the decision of the STF.
To avoid further exhaustion, senators suggest that Rodrigues step aside from his mandate. The congressman was removed this Friday, 17, from the Mixed Commission of Congress that oversees the Union’s expenses in the pandemic, precisely the area in which he is investigated for diverting resources. Rodrigues was a substitute for the collegiate. The vacancy belongs to the block formed by DEM, PL and PSC in the Senate.
The electoral scenario increases the pressure for voluntary removal, since senators avoid publicly defending their colleagues. “Moving away would be more elegant on his part. The situation was very bad for us, senators, in the eyes of public opinion,” said Vanderlan Cardoso (PSD-GO), a candidate for the mayor of Goiânia.