Lasso sacks top cop and national prison director in fallout from assassination suspects’ murder
President Guillermo Lasso has fired the commander of the National Police and the director of prison system. The Saturday announcement comes in the wake of the prison murders of seven defendants in the August 9 assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio.
Six of the suspects, arrested the night of the assassination, were murdered Friday afternoon in Litoral prison in Guayaquil while the seventh was murdered hours later in a Quito prison.
Fausto Salinas was removed as general commander of the National Police and Luis Ordóñez was removed as prisons director.
Also on Saturday, a judge ordered the arrest of José Antonio Mora, deputy director of the Litoral Penitentiary. According to prosecutors, Mora ignored an order to relocate the assassination defendants away from other prisoners.
According to the presidential press office, six other men arrested in the assassination plot have been isolated in an unnamed prison.
On Saturday night, Lasso ordered a new 30-day state of emergency as a result of the prison murders. He also said he was canceling his planned trip to South Korea for the signing of a trade agreement.
The murder of the seven suspects continues to draw angry reaction from those involved in the assassination.
The daughters of Villavicencio, Tamia and Amanda Villavicencio, criticized the “incompetence” of the government to control activities in the prisons. “These murders reflect the level of infiltration of organized crime in government institutions, which are evidently incapable of guaranteeing due process.”
In a letter sent to Lasso, the daughters claimed the murders “have snatched away the possibility that these subjects could have guided the investigation to find those who ordered the assassination. There is no excuse for what happened on Friday.”
Officials from other nations also voiced dismay at the murders. “This shows a critical failure of institutional control and should be addressed immediately, said Charles-Michel Geurts, the European Union’s ambassador to Ecuador.