Overwhelmed by the order of the National Court to end its prospective investigation into Podemos, Manuel García Castellón headed to the court's archives to see what he could find that would help him continue his investigations into that political party. He needed something, anything, as long as he could continue to give meaning to his life. He had to go very far in time, although at this point he is no longer in a position to be very demanding. It was planted in 2015 and An investigation began this week. to Juan Carlos Monedero, one of the founders of Podemos, about events that, although they caused a lot of noise, were never treated as a possible crime in court.
He has the help of Pollo Carvajal, former head of the Venezuelan intelligence services, who is currently willing to say anything in order to prevent him from being extradited to the United States. If he is convicted of various crimes there, including drug trafficking, he will spend the rest of his days in a US prison. You don't have to be a lawyer to know that García Castellón will take the instruction very calmly, so it is certain that this new case will last until the next general election.
The García Castellón court is one of the epicenters of the judicial war that is now taking place in Spain. His best-known battlefield is that of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPG), pending renewal for more than 1,300 days. The PP refuses to agree on the election of new members with the aim of maintaining its conservative majority until it is time to return to the polls.
The State Attorney General's Office is another of the open fronts, this time due to the resignation of Dolores Delgado for health reasons and her replacement by her number two, Álvaro García Ortiz.
The future attorney general appeared on Thursday in the Justice Commission of Congress in the previous mandatory step before his appointment by the Council of Ministers. Given that the heads of the Prosecutor's Office are appointed in Spain by the Government, his election is always controversial and his career is usually examined with an electron microscope. Both the PSOE and the PP have harshly criticized attorney generals in the past when they were in opposition. They never apply the story when they are in government.
They could have changed the appointment system and let Congress do it with reinforced majorities, as is the case of the CGPJ, which is not a guarantee of success either, as we are seeing these months. But It is the Constitution that establishes appointed by the Government and it is already known that the Constitution is not touched.
Based on the hierarchical principle of the operation of the Prosecutor's Office, governments always make it clear that prosecutors must follow the orders of the attorney general, although in some very relevant cases the Board of Prosecutors intervenes. It is what José María Aznar did in 2001 when he demanded that prosecutors comply with the orders of the then attorney general, Jesús Cardenal. The Statute of the Public Ministry "establishes very clearly what the hierarchical order of the Prosecutor's Office is and the responsibilities of each one in this regard," he said. Some prosecutors demanded that Minister Josep Piqué testify as a defendant in the Ercros case, to which Cardenal refused.
García Ortiz appeared in Congress with the original sin of being Delgado's right-hand man until now, and that was enough for the opposition to consider him unworthy of the position. They were helped by the fact that seven members of the CGPJ had voted against his appointment –twelve voted in favor– for not believing him to be independent enough, a subjective reasoning that is curious coming from people who have been elected by political parties through a vote in Parliament.
As the CGPJ has become a transmission belt for the opinions that arise from the parties and the media, we cannot be very surprised either.
The prosecutor did not cut himself and accused those seven members of the CGPJ of behaving like "a court of honor", an idea more medieval than democratic. "They've gone out looking for press clippings against me," he said. It was not very difficult for them to find them in the right-wing press.
However, Congress can always go further than we can imagine. It is not enough to criticize a person chosen by the Government, but you have to raise your voice to affirm that he is a criminal. If a citizen does it outside of Parliament, he gets a complaint from which he is convicted, but in the legislature there is an open bar for accusations without evidence.
This was done by Edmundo Bal, who commented on Twitter that García Ortiz has become "on the side of the executioners in the Miguel Ángel Blanco case." In the Justice Commission, the Ciudadanos spokesperson posed it in terms of a question: "Wouldn't it be better to side with the victims than with the protection of the executioners through the institution of the prescription, of impunity for crimes?" Bal was assuming that the prosecutor is little more than a collaborator of the terrorists.
The Popular Party representative, Luis Santamaría, almost copied the argument when he reproached the prosecutor for "an attitude of complicity and collaboration" with the terrorists.
García Ortiz replied that there is no opinion from the Attorney General's Office on the prescription of the judicial investigation of the murder of Miguel Ángel Blanco. "There have been no guidelines of any kind, much less a political one," he said. On the possible prescription of these crimes, no decision has been made, because "it is not the right procedural moment." He guaranteed that the decision will not be made by him alone, but will be taken to the Chamber Prosecutors Board, where the most important prosecutors in the race are listed.
The PP also brought up García Ortiz's participation in a conference organized by the Galician PSOE at the time when the socialists ruled in that autonomous community. just a few weeks agoJavier Zaragoza, prosecutor of the Supreme Court, was present at another conference on legal issues organized by the Popular Party.
García Ortiz recalled that the theme of the act he attended was forest fires, on which he contributed the actions of the prosecutors in the criminal investigation of the accidents, and that two professors also attended. He had requested permission from the tax inspectorate and they had granted it.
The left-wing spokesmen asked him about the meeting that Delgado and he had with Eduardo Inda in March 2021. He replied that it was a meeting similar to the one they held with other media outlets and left a phrase that each one can interpret as they wish: "OK Newspaper is a medium that Spanish prosecutors consult regularly, with relative frequency. Let's leave it in that reading is not a crime, as long as readers do not believe everything they read in some media. García Ortiz did not say anything about the unpresentable decision to hold the meeting not in the attorney general's office, but in a Baltasar Garzón apartment, which seemed like an attempt to keep the meeting from going public.
The socialist spokesman, Francisco Aranda, said that the opposition had turned the appearance into "a plot quagmire." In other words, the legislature lived up to what is expected of it in these times of hammer and knife.