The permanent commission in Congress that decides on the most important issues to be debated in the chamber, including the investigation of Judge Cesar Hinostroza, decided on 28 September not to include him in its investigation into organised crime in Callao, known as the ‘White Collars of the Port’.
Commission members belonging to the Fujimorista Fuerza Popular (FP) party alleged there was not enough information to accuse him of being a member of a criminal organisation. This was in spite of the taped recordings of Hinostroza and other magistrates, including former members of the Consejo Nacional de la Magistratura (CNM), who have all now been removed from post. In the case of Hinostroza, Guido Aguila and Julio Gutiérrez Pebe, they were ruled unfit to hold any positions in the judicial system for ten years.
Now excluded from the investigation into organised crime, it becomes impossible to prosecute them when the case arrives in the criminal court. There is, however, some disagreement on whether this dictum can be reversed when it is finally discussed in the plenary of Congress.
Fuerza Popular stands accused of obstructing the fight against corruption and seeking to protect their own number from charges of corruption. In the opinion of Alan Wagner, the former foreign minister who led the presidential commission into how to confront corruption, “this is not the way to advance in the fight against corruption; we exhort the Congress to rectify in the plenary a decision which causes both disappointment and outrage.”
Meanwhile the congressional commission on constitutional affairs finally approved, after ten days of debate, details about proposals to return to a two-chamber parliament. This is one of the four proposals sent by the executive to the legislative for eventual consideration in a referendum. The proposal envisages the Chamber of Deputies to have 130 deputies (as now) and 50 senators, with the proviso that their combined budget would not exceed 0.45% of the budget for the running of the state. Peruvian parliaments were traditionally bi-cameral until the changes introduced by the 1993 constitution passed by referendum during the first government of Alberto Fujimori.
President Martín Vizcarra, recently returned from the UN General Assembly in New York, has said that he received “a guarantee” from Congressional President Daniel Salaverry on 28 September that the legislature will have cleared the necessary ground for holding all four referendums by 4 October. As of 29 September, the green light had been given for two: on reforming the CNM and on the return to a bi-cameral parliament.