Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ratified that if the Workers Party, – currently involved in a major corruption scandal -, committed mistakes it must open its books to the Brazilian public opinion and say how they will correct them.
“What the Workers Party (PT) did from an electoral point of view is common systematic practice in Brazil…but if the PT committed a mistake, my thesis is that they must explain the mistakes committed to the Brazilian people,” said Lula in a Sunday television interview, the first in which he openly addresses the issue that has sent shockwaves in the country.
The three PT leading posts, President José Genoíno, chairman Sílvio Pereira and Treasurer Delúbio Soares, resigned last week following allegations that they were bribing Congressmen to ensure support for the Lula administration legislation.
President Lula da Silva implicitly admitting the payments scheme said that “leaders of the party didn’t think twice what they were doing”, and with their actions have eroded the ethics image of the party.
However, “the PT has in ethics one of its most extraordinary trade marks and because one of its leaders committed a mistake, it can’t be said that the whole party is involved in corrupt activities,” argued Lula.
The Brazilian President admitted he has a son in the PT payroll and “that is because I’m one of the party’s founders” in 1980, which has seen its membership balloon since.
“But the party became very fragile, very weak, when so many of our cadres left to occupy elected posts both at federal and state level. That’s probably why we committed mistakes that we wouldn’t have committed in the past”.
“We’re waiting for names and evidence from police and Congressional investigations so those responsible are punished”, he added.
As to possible Lula administration responsibility in the scandal, “it’s been some time since I left the PT presidency…I was president three years, but then I became president of the republic (January 2003) and I ceased to participate in conducting PT affairs”.
Regarding his re-election aspiration, President Lula da Silva said he wasn’t thinking about it, “still have year and a half ahead, I won’t address the re-election issue, I’m in no hurry to talk about it. My commitment is with promises I made to the Brazilian people in 2002. Following that we’ll talk about 2006”.
Meantime, in what seems to be a defense strategy worked out by the Lula administration, former PT Treasurer Delúbio Soares officially admitted during a television interview the existence of illegal financial operations within the party and other forces belonging to the ruling coalition.
However he strongly rejected that the money collected with the participation of publicist Marcos Valério was used to bribe Congress members to vote for the administration.
Mr. Soares revealed that with the help of Mr. Valério he had access to US$ 16.6 million in loans to finish paying off debts from the 2002 presidential and the 2004 municipal elections.
“But it was all between him and me. I signed a private document with Valério”, said Soares denying other PT officials had been involved.
“I assume as former PT Treasurer before the Brazilian nation that in 2003 and 2004 I managed unaccounted funds,” which is common practice in all Brazilian parties.
Soares statement was in line with Mr. Valério’s defense before Congress’s investigation committees who said the loans were requested on instructions from the former PT treasurer, “and my companies were used as a façade with the money passed on to the party to help pay for electoral debts”.
This article appeared originally in Mercopress – www.mercopress.com.