The judicial investigation was opened less than a year ago and has exploded in the middle of the pre-campaign for the municipal elections in May.
The complaints before the Vigo Prosecutor's Office by several local police officers against the mayor of Baiona (Pontevedra), the socialist Carlos Gómez, led to a complaint by the public ministry, which accuses the councilor of withdrawing five traffic fines for an amount of 880 euros and forging a parking license.
The investigating judge has agreed to open an oral trial against Gómez for alleged prevarication and document falsification, some crimes for which his disqualification is at stake.
The politician opted for re-election in May, after managing to evict the PP from the City Council in 2019 after 15 years of government.
The order of the head of the investigating court number 2 of Vigo has been resounding after concluding the investigation and analyzing the evidence.
The judge appreciates a continuous crime of administrative prevarication and documentary falsification in the actions of the councilor, who allegedly removed the five fines for parking in a loading and unloading area in the heart of the municipality.
After being denounced by the local police officers, Gómez is accused of falsifying a parking license, a fact that at the discretion of the instructor is clear from the report requested from the Baiona City Council secretary.
In this document it is verified that "there is no administrative procedure or any type of file related to the issuance of said license," the order highlights.
The judge has also ordered that the case against an agent of the Local Police, chief officer when the events occurred, continue.
This police officer is being investigated for a crime of documentary falsification for allegedly having collaborated in the withdrawal of the fines and in processing the false license for the mayor.
The councilor was denounced for traffic violations up to five times between April 30 and June 9, 2021. The complaints by the agents gave rise to the corresponding disciplinary proceedings.
In the allegations process, the politician acknowledged being the driver of the car whose license plate appeared on the fines, but claimed that he had a parking license that authorized him to park in that area.
According to his claim,
The judge questions the validity of that permit.
“The parking license provided to justify said parking could lack the essential elements of validity (administrative file number, date and period of issuance, etc.) and could simulate a real one, and could have been created for this process of allegations, in such a way that it would mislead about its authenticity”, maintains the instructor.
In view of the report from the municipal secretary, he adds, the permit was signed by both the mayor and the agent under investigation, who at that time was the chief officer of the Local Police.
Investigators suspect that both cooperated in its "making."
Despite the fact that the reporting agents are usually asked for a report ratifying the fines, this step was not taken in any of the five cases investigated.
This procedure, according to the investigation, was replaced by a report from the investigated agent.
The Traffic Sanctions Unit of the Provincial Council of Pontevedra, after the allegations presented by the mayor, proposed the file of the procedure.
The judicial investigations have discovered that it was the councilor who signed five different resolutions on August 23, 2021 in which he agreed to "estimate his own allegations and file all sanctioning procedures for illegal parking."
The decision was notified at his home only a few days later, on September 2.
The judge sees in this behavior a "total disregard for the duty of abstention that existed, since he had the status of denounced and mayor."
“Everything that has been done has been done well”
The proceedings have been transferred to the Public Prosecutor's Office and to the parties appearing to request the opening of the oral trial, the dismissal of the case or new proceedings for the trial.
The socialist mayor of Baiona, who governs in coalition with the BNG and the independent party Nós Baiona, has announced that he will appeal the judicial order that places him in a politically delicate situation: "I am sure that everything that has been done has been done well and in the right way", Gómez has proclaimed.
Gómez's version has had the support of the general secretary of the PSdeG-PSOE, Valentín González Formoso, who has expressed his confidence in the socialist candidate for re-election: "He will give the appropriate explanations, he has a commitment to his people and will probably give clues of an internal nature that explain what is happening in Baiona”.
Gómez rules out any illegality in his actions and defends the administrative validity of the disputed parking license.
"The parking card was granted to me by the Local Police and it was requested in the way that it has always been done in the Baiona City Council," says Gómez.
“I have always parked where they told me I could park,” he adds.
The councilor is convinced that his appeal "will be resolved favorably" and hopes that "it will be done as soon as possible."
The PP municipal group discovered the annulment decrees of the fines imposed by the Local Police on Gómez in an information commission held days after the councilor received the notification of the file at his home.
The popular spokesman, Ángel Rodal, asked the socialist about the controversial sanctions and Gómez acknowledged that they had been imposed for loading and unloading parking at unauthorized hours, although his allegations had already been estimated.
The alderman alleged that he had a card that allowed him to park in that area, but that he "had forgotten" to put it in the vehicle.
Gómez's responses did not convince the PP and a little over a year later, in November 2022, the Prosecutor's Office sued the mayor, giving credibility to the complaints made by the local police officers who issued the fines.
"Never before has any mayor of Baiona had a card that authorizes him to park in reserved areas, which is a privilege," stresses the popular spokesman.
"The card to which the councilor refers, if it exists, does not entitle you to park in the loading and unloading area but to do so only in a reserved section."
The popular ones complain that the service of the Diputación de Pontevedra that manages the traffic fines of the Baiona City Council has made it difficult for them to access the files of the sanctions.
"It is a lack of respect for the residents of Baiona who ask us politicians to set an example," says the opposition spokesman.
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