Salazar walks out of National Assembly hearing when Correistas try to allow a fugitive to speak

May 14, 2024 | 0 comments

Attorney General Diana Salazar walked out of a National Assembly hearing Monday when the president of the Audit Commission attempted to allow former Assembly member Ronny Aleaga to address the session by video link. Aleaga, a member of the Citizens Revolution party, fled the country in March after a warrant was issued for his arrest in the Metastasis corruption case.

Attorney General Diana Salazar, center, prepares to leave a National Assembly hearing Monday after the image of the fugitive Ronny Aleaga appeared on a video screen.

Saying she would not take part in a “circus,” Salazar later gave Audit Commission president Pamela Aguirre 48 hours to provide information about the whereabouts of Aleaga and details of the arrangement to allow him to address the Assembly. “Mr. Aleaga is a fugitive from justice and it is an act of procedural fraud to withhold information about him from the proper authorities,” the Attorney General’s office said in a statement.

Aleaga, believed to be in Colombia, did not have a chance to speak as other Assembly members, including the delegations of the Social Christian and Democratic Action parties, walked out with Salazar, leaving the session without a quorum.

Earlier in the session, Salazar provided an update on investigations by her office, including the Encuentro and León de Troya cases involving alleged corruption in the governments of Guillermo Lasso and Lenin Moreno. She refused however, to answer several questions concerning details of the cases. “I was summoned to answer questions about specific investigations and I will not lend myself to a political show that seeks to contaminate the Metastasis case,” she said.

One of the Assembleistas who walked out with Salazar, Ramiro Vela, said he was “stunned” when Aleaga appeared on the video screen. “What were the Correistas thinking when they wanted to include a fugitive in the public discourse?” Vela asked. “Have we lowered ourselves to the point where the opinions of murderers, extortionists and rapists are to be considered in making public policy?”

Aguirre claimed she did need not ask Aleaga to appear. “He informed all members of my committee of his desire to speak by email,” Aguirre said. “It was not solicited and I have no idea about his location.”

Aguirre, a member of Citizens Revolution, accused Assembly members who walked out of violating protocol by denying an Assembly quorum. “This is the second time they have violated the rules and it is my intention to see that they are punished.”

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