The lawyers of the Congress do not see "formal defects" for the amnesty bill to be debated in the Lower House, and therefore endorse that it begins its processing, as SER has advanced and this newspaper has confirmed. The legal report prepared by the lawyers that accompanies the proposed law, which will be studied tomorrow Tuesday in the Bureau of Congress, argues that the rule registered last week alone by the PSOE "lacks formal defects that make it impossible to admit it for the debate of the political groups". This Monday, the PP has recused the senior lawyer of the Chamber, Fernando Galindo, alleging that he was director general and undersecretary in the Government of Pedro Sánchez and that he is married to the one who has been the director general of Relations with the Courts until two weeks ago.
The lawyers' text, signed by Galindo, contains seven conclusions. The first is that the classification of the initiatives by the Bureau is not intended as a first judicial instance, a kind of prior control of constitutionality, as determined by different judgments of the Constitutional Court in the processing of the statutes of Catalonia and the Basque Country. The second is that the proposal "lacks formal defects that make it impossible to admit it for processing." The third refers to the historical basis and inadmissibility of the amnesty bill presented by the pro-independence parties in March 2021 and which was not allowed to be processed at the time because it was conceived, the lawyers now say, as a general pardon, something expressly prohibited by Article 62 of the Constitution.
The fourth conclusion of the legal experts of Congress delves into that aspect to say that the current proposal "has elements that differentiate it" from the inadmissible one of 2021 and that distinguish it from a general pardon. The fifth holds that, if there were other possible grounds for unconstitutionality, "they would not derive from a direct reading of any precept of the Constitution, but from an interpretation of them applied to the figure of amnesty, which should be carried out by the Constitutional Court", a doctrine that "has not yet been issued". The sixth argues that "there does not seem to be sufficient elements in the Constitution or in constitutional jurisprudence to determine" whether the proposed law contradicts the Constitution. And the seventh concludes by explaining that the Bureau, which is a political body with a progressive majority of five members compared to the four of the PP, is the one who must decide on this type of qualifications, as will be ratified tomorrow.
Vox, which does not have any deputy in the Bureau, has already advanced that it will sue the lawyers who authored that report and against the members of that body who approve that qualification for a possible crime of prevarication, because they denounce that they are thus legitimizing a "coup against the rule of law", as confirmed this Monday by its leader, Santiago Abascal.
It is more than possible that the PP will propose, before other measures, a letter of reconsideration of this decision of the Bureau. But before the lawyers' report was known, the PP had already registered this Monday in Congress the request for recusal of the secretary general and senior lawyer of the Cortes, Fernando Galindo, with the intention that he cannot "carry out the technical proposal for the qualification of the proposal for an organic amnesty law". The PP asks that Galindo's appointment be revoked, which was formalized only a couple of weeks ago, because it understands that "it violates the legal principles of impartiality and objectivity" given that the lawyer was part of the Government of Pedro Sánchez (he was director general and undersecretary) and is married to the person who has been the director general of Relations with the Courts until last October 30. It is not the first time that a secretary general and senior lawyer of the Congress proceeds or has passed through different Executives, also during the mandates of the PP.
The PP is not willing to let go of the political prey of its frontal opposition to the law that will amnesty those accused of the Catalan independence process, and it is going to take this issue to all the institutions in which it is represented, including the Bureau of Congress. The Popular Party recalls in its recusal letter that Galindo was first director general of Regional and Local Cooperation, and later, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Territorial Policy. He held that position until October 31, 2023, two days before being appointed secretary general of Congress at the proposal of the president of the Chamber, the socialist Francina Armengol. The PP thus considers that the current senior lawyer – who has 13 years of experience and was unanimously appointed on three occasions to different responsibilities in Congress, also under mandate of the Popular Party – does not meet the conditions for that position.
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The PP relates Galindo's presence in the government until two weeks ago with the preparation of the amnesty bill, which has been formally presented by the socialist parliamentary group, but which the PP awards to the Executive. Sources from the Presidency of the Chamber maintain that Galindo had nothing to do with the drafting of this rule and point out that there have been dozens of cases of lawyers who have previously collaborated with different executives.
The figure of Fernando Galindo will be key from this Tuesday, because he will have to pronounce as senior lawyer and secretary general of Congress on the acceptance and qualification of the amnesty bill for it to begin its processing. The PP interprets that since, in a public statement, Minister Félix Bolaños went so far as to comment that the amnesty bill could be "conveyed" as a bill — that is, formally presented by parliamentary groups, not by the Executive — this shows that the text has been "prepared and drafted by the Government or at least that the Executive has had full knowledge of it." And in that line of argument, the popular group arrives at the derivative that "it is more than likely" that Galindo "is aware of the text that has been registered in Congress or of any of its previous drafts," so "he is disqualified from issuing a report in relation to it."
The Popular Party also questions the senior lawyer because he is married to Mercedes Cabrera, who until last October 30 held a position in the Government as general director of Relations with the Courts. The PP argues that, according to the law of the Legal Regime of the Public Sector, the Law of Senior Officials and the Statute of the Personnel of the Courts, Galindo should abstain in this matter because he does not have sufficient "objectivity and impartiality".
The popular group recalls that on March 23, 2021, the former secretary general of Congress, Carlos Gutiérrez, presented a technical opinion on a proposed amnesty law, presented by ERC and other Catalan pro-independence groups, in which he argued that it should not be admitted for processing because it entered into a "clear and evident contradiction with the Constitution". However, and as EL PAÍS has advanced this Monday, that same senior lawyer prepared a report in March 2018, for the then president of the Chamber, the popular Ana Pastor, in which he not only maintained a different position but even advised the drafting of an amnesty law to contemplate the pardon of an indeterminate number of civil guards sanctioned or convicted for claiming their right to professional association.
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