Habitual in the media tribunes, where he usually gives his opinion on current legal matters, the name of judge Alfonso Villagómez Cebrián jumped to the front pages of newspapers last Friday due to the scope of a resolution of his that left the emergency plan approved by the Community of Madrid to face the latest peak of the pandemic. On Thursday – the text was made public a day later – he had refused to ratify the latest preventive measures against COVID-19 agreed by the Community of Madrid, one of the autonomies most affected by outbreaks.
A judge annuls the order of the Community of Madrid that prohibited smoking in the street without distance and closed nightlife venues
In a controversial and convoluted order, the judge refused to validate measures such as the prohibition of smoking when a safety distance cannot be maintained or the cessation of hospitality activity at 1.00 in the morning. He argued that they were referring to an order from the Ministry of Health that was “null and void” because it had not been published in the BOE. The resolution also included an extensive legal assessment on the legal framework for the protection of health and the deprivation or limitation of freedoms and rights, while at the same time indicating that the measures proposed by the Executive of Isabel Díaz Ayuso “do not acquire the category of limitation and violation of fundamental rights “.
On Sunday, in an “unheard of” movement, according to the sources consulted, the magistrate himself published a Article in the Confilegal legal portal signed with his name and surname in which he tried to explain that resolution and implicitly acknowledged that he was not competent to rule on those measures because the Community of Madrid erred when submitting them for ratification. “The Community of Madrid wanted the court to ratify a general health provision (…). There is no such institute of ratification of an administrative rule in our law,” the article said, that was deleted from the page, and in which the magistrate accused the regional Executive of making a “tortico” use of Justice.
Instead of having inadmitted the request given the lack of competence, as he implied that his obligation would be in the press article, Villagómez entered to assess it and rejected it, leaving the measures in a legal limbo for which he does not feel responsible. as he said in another resolution last Friday. “It is not up to this judge to” co-govern “with the Governing Council of the Community of Madrid, nor to determine the legal consequences that may arise from the lack of ratification of Order 1008/2020 through a resolution of clarity and clarity. resolutory beyond all doubt, “he says in the order in which he rejects the clarification requested by the regional Executive.
Meanwhile, his decision has irritated the Government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso, which has already filed an appeal and has accused him of “overreaching”; but also to the central, who in a statement made public on Friday reminded the magistrate that only decisions that imply deprivation or restriction of freedom or another fundamental right require judicial authorization and that it is not the responsibility of Health to publish those measures in the BOE. It is about “a series of coordinated actions in public health” to “control the pandemic” that do not create an obligation for citizens but for the communities, which are the ones who have to be in charge of publishing them, say sources from the Ministry of Health.
Former Justice Advisor with the PSOE
“If he intended to score points with the Sánchez government, he has been regular,” says a source about Villagómez, who worked as an advisor to the former socialist justice ministers Juan Fernando López Aguilar and Mariano Fernández Bermejo, during the first term of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (2004-2008). Doctor of Law from the University of Santiago de Compostela, he has been a member of the judicial career since 1991 and has been an advisor to the Ombudsman and a lawyer at the Constitutional Court. Before ending up in Litigation Court number 14 in Madrid, he was a member of the Superior Court of Xustiza de Galicia (TSXG).
The newspaper library also places him as an “eternal candidate” for a member of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), the governing body of judges whose renewal is still pending since December 2018 and which maintains the conservative majority from when Mariano Rajoy’s PP ruled with an absolute majority. The name of Villagómez appears linked to the applicants who directly designate the parties – the PSOE, in this case -, a formation in which he has supporters but also detractors, according to the sources consulted. In any case, he has never gone beyond being in pools promoted by himself. In 2014 he also ran unsuccessfully as a candidate to preside over the Madrid Supreme Court.
His proximity to the PSOE made in June 2011 the Superior Court of Xustiza de Galicia unanimously agreed to remove him from a dispute over whether the raffle decided by the mayor of the small municipality Os Blancos (Ourense) in the elections of May of that year had been valid or not. The PP of Galicia promoted his challenge and the court accepted it on the understanding that it did not pretend the impartiality that the members of the judiciary should show, according to what he said. The voice of Galicia. The motives? His previous position as advisor to López Aguilar and Fernández Bermejo and an alleged offer to join the PSOE’s candidacy for mayor of Vigo that he never denied.
A quick glance at the digital kiosk shows that Villagómez is a regular in the media stands, in which he has shown his opposition to politicization and the “distribution of stickers” at the top of the Judiciary, he has praised the appointment of Dolores Delgado as attorney general of the State or, more recently, has questioned the actions of the Civil Guard in the 8M case. There are many articles of his in regional newspapers such as El Correo Gallego and also in national newspapers such as El País or El Mundo. He has recently published in The vanguard. In elDiario.es published in June 2018 this article critical of the so-called ‘gag law’.
Some people who have dealt with him recall that his singular effort to compulsively publish in the media has caused him some other problem. In May 2014, the then Ombudsman of El País, Tomàs Delclós, had to step out of the complaints of a collaborator of the newspaper and other readers who had detected that the judge had plagiarized from other texts by different authors complete sentences of two articles published in the newspaper on surveys and judicial reform. As Delclós explained, the judge apologized for the “mistake” made in the first article and declined to comment on the second. After a few weeks, he recovered his frenzied activity in other headlines of the Galician press, which usually nominate him for the most diverse positions in the judiciary.