Attorney General gets a vote of confidence from the National Assembly following corruption arrests

Dec 19, 2023 | 0 comments

Ecuador’s National Assembly approved a resolution Monday supporting the work of Attorney General Diana Salazar. The support follows the arrests of 31 government officials and attorneys alleged to have been bribed by drug gangs and cartels.

In a Monday vote, the National Assembly passed a resolution supporting Ecuador Attorney General Diana Salazar.

The vote came as the Citizens Revolution prepares for an impeachment trial of Salazar, who they charge with “incompetence and selective law enforcement.” The Assembly’s Citizens Revolution bloc voted against the resolution.

In his motion for a vote, Jorge Peñafiel of the Construye party said that given the security crisis Ecuador faces, Salazar deserves the “reassurance” that her work is appreciated. “The people of Ecuador are behind her, and I ask that their representatives in the Assembly also extend their support.”

Among the arrests resulting from the attorney general’s investigation, code-named Operation Metastasis, are the president of Ecuador’s Judiciary Council Wilman Terán, former chief of the country’s prison system, and 18 judges and high-ranking police officials.

In his comments, Peñafiel detailed the results of the police raids carried out on Salazar’s orders. “Many of the revelations of the investigation had been brought forward by Fernando Villavicencio before and during his campaign,” Peñafiel said, referring to the presidential candidate assassinated in May. “Ms. Salazar recognized the rot at the heart of our judiciary and law enforcement system and she had the courage to expose it. We are facing a total and absolute debacle of the judicial function, and she knows that now is the time to stop it.”

He added: “Now, we see the political backlash from sectors whose leaders are implicated in the corruption. I understand one of those sectors intends to bring the attorney general to trial in the Assembly. Maybe they should rethink their strategy.”

Assembly President Henry Kronfle, who supported the resolution, defended Citizens Revolution’s right to bring impeachment charges against Salazar but said after Monday’s session he believed it was a “waste of time” since it lacks majority support. “It is my job, however, to support the rules of the Assembly and I intend to do this,” he said.

In rejecting the resolution, Citizens Revolution Assembly members claimed Salazar should not be recognized for doing her job. “This is what she is paid to do so why should we be cheerleaders for her assigned functions?” CR’s Paola Cabezas asked.

Monday night, former Citizens Revolution presidential candidate Luisa Gonzalez claimed that Salazar had the results of her investigation for more than a year and failed to act until last week.

Also on Monday night, Peñafiel said in a radio interview that if Citizens Revolution proceeds with impeachment against Salazar, he and other Assemblymembers will ask why the names of former president Rafael Correa and former vice president Jorge Glas came up on phone calls and texts of an imprisoned drug gang leader. “It would also be an appropriate venue to ask why Correa leaked information about the police raids allowing some suspects to escape, and why he supported the cartels in his social media posts.”

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