The opposition parties decided Thursday, September 15, to grant a period for the deputies named in the combined report of the Joint Parliamentary Investigative Commissions (CPMIs) on the Post Office and Vote Buying as participants in the alleged scheme of monthly allowance payments (“mensalão”) so they can defend themselves before the Disciplinary Board of the Chamber.
The decision was communicated officially in a joint note delivered to the vice-president of the Chamber, José Thomaz Nonô, by representatives of the parties and signed by the PPS, PDT, PV, PSDB, the leadership of the minority, and part of the PT and the PSOL. The opposition representatives affirmed that, once this period is over, they will file motions directly against these deputies in the Ethics Council.
The vice-leader of the PPS, Raul Jungmann, said that they decided to concede the charged legislators some time so that “it is clear to society that we are not impeding anyone’s right to a full defense.”
According to him, the lawmakers cited by the CPMIs will be able to defend themselves before the Disciplinary Board of the Chamber during this period and offer clarifications. “What we are not going to accept is procrastinating the investigations,” Jungmann declared.
In view of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) injunctions granting the seven PT deputies cited by the CPMIs the right to defend themselves before the Disciplinary Board, the Executive Board of the Chamber decided to postpone forwarding the motions against them to the Ethics Council.
Deputy Denise Frossard, who is a judge, said that the Supreme Court decision stopped the Congress in its tracks. “The Judiciary jumped headlong into the crisis,” Frossard remarked.
“The STF blocked the National Congress from performing a constitutional function that pertains to it, that of punishing its own legislators.”
For Frossard, the error originated in the Chamber, which did not recognize the legislators’ right to defend themselves before the Disciplinary Board. In her opinion, the least damaging solution for the Legislature is to correct the mistake by giving the deputies cited by the CPMIs a period in which to defend themselves.
According to the internal regulations of the Chamber and the Ethics Council, only the Executive Board of the Chamber or a political party has the right to file motions in the Council of Ethics and Parliamentary Decorum for processes to be initiated against legislators to revoke their mandates.