Several investigations gather pace in Congress, as the immunity from judicial prosecution is on the verge of being rescinded in the case of several members. The most notorious is Héctor Becerril from the Fujimorista party Fuerza Popular (FP) whose links to organised crime are now being looked into. On 1 April the body of his former technical advisor Igor García Nieto was found lifeless in suspicious circumstances. Becerril, who will be questioned by police, alleged he was attacked at gunpoint three weeks ago and his phone was stolen. He did not alert the police at the time. This is not the first time he is being investigated by Congress, but it does seem that on this occasion evidence is mounting against him.
There are currently four parliamentarians who have been found guilty of crimes who continue to serve in Congress because their immunity has so far not been lifted. They include Edwin Donayre, a former general convicted of stealing gasoline from the government when still on active service. The other three, Benicio Ríos, Zacarías Lapa and Guillermo Martorell have all received sentences for graft but are still in Congress.
Yonhi Lescano and Moisés Mamani on the other hand are currently under investigation for sexual harassment. Mamani, whose immunity was lifted by the congressional ethics committee in March 2019, is accused of fondling a flight attendant’s backside. The incident was captured on video. Lescano has been found to have sent lewd messages to a journalist. The ethics committee has received a report recommending his suspension for 120 days pending an investigation.
All these are overt examples of the legal difficulties faced by parliamentarians, and one of the reasons why Congress has such low support from the general public is because there is a wide perception that they hide behind their rights of immunity to punishment.