“Because I am here? What act am I charged with? I want to know what I’m doing here when there is no reason or foundation to be outside the PSOE. I have not committed anything, only to defend the general interest in my capacity as mayor “, Mena responded to the last valid question formulated by the lawyer of the Socialist Party, María Ángeles Padilla, in the trial held in the Court of First Instance number 1 of Arona.
The cause has its origin in the complaint made by the mayor of Arona against the conclusion of the disciplinary file opened by the national leadership of the party (Federal Executive Commission), which led to his expulsion on November 13, 2020, ratified on December 28 by the Federal Commission of Ethics and Guarantees of the PSOE. On March 4, Judge Nidia Méndez Martín issued an order in which she accepted the precautionary measures requested by Mena against said expulsion.
The PSOE lawyer stressed that the councilor received the established notifications, through the email that he provided when he joined the expulsion procedure (about 20 years ago) and that he did not make use of all the procedures and resources that he has All members of the party are entitled to the Ethics and Guarantees Committee. It established that the email in which the expulsion was communicated was received on October 7 and that the mayor had five days to respond. Mena admitted knowing that message, but on October 14 and in an email address that he uses sporadically. Until then, the communications of the expulsion file were received by burofax, he declared in the courtroom. “I exercised all the actions that I could in the time that I could before the change of notification method of which the party did not warn me,” he said repeatedly.
The lawyer accused the mayor of obstruction, indiscipline, undermining socialist public offices, act against party organs, maintain a “negligent and passive” attitude when faced with the disciplinary proceedings and expose a “repeated refusal to comply with the orders of the PSOE.”
Without the causes
Ignacio Granjel, lawyer for José Julián Mena, reiterated the existence of formal defects when communicating the expulsion causing “serious defenselessness” to the mayor, said that the PSOE does not determine in the file the causes of the expulsion, but it does speak of indiscipline, when what was declared by two councilors summoned by the PSOE representation the existence of disagreements is deduced. The two councilors acknowledged before the judge that they had worked freely while they had responsibility in management.
He considered it relevant that the PSOE’s Ethics and Guarantees Committee “dismantle the accusations” against Mena by concluding that a militant cannot be punished for the actions of other people and that requesting the delivery of the councilor’s act is unconstitutional. However, the same organ of the PSOE incurs “incongruity and arbitrariness” when it determines to sanction Mena for it with his expulsion.
For the legal representation of the complainant, it is clear that the dismissal of Luis García as Town Planning councilor by Mena is a cause of his expulsion from the PSOE. Such termination, explained the lawyer, was produced by “suspicions that there could be a series of urban irregularities”, which “it seems that they were not gratuitous.” Granjel cited documentation from the file to point out that “there are a series of actions by the Prosecutor’s Office and by the Government of the Canary Islands regarding the initiation of investigations” in this regard. He did not continue this line of argument, stating that “we left it for the criminal part.”
Furthermore, he drew attention to the fact that the record does not include most of the arguments presented by the PSOE and his witnesses in the trial held yesterday, among them the accusation that Mena did not hold meetings of the municipal group, the existence of recordings that implicated the Urban Planning area in inappropriate practices and the interference of the mayor’s trusted personnel and people outside the the corporation.
“An attempt is made to materialize a fraud of law” which consists of “promoting a motion of censure at the moment when Mena ceases to be part of the municipal group.” Ignacio Granjel insisted in his conclusions that “what is being intended as the ultimate goal is this.”
The witnesses, against the mayor
The four witnesses spoke of the meetings held since March 2020 without any minutes being taken. The secretary of Organization of the PSC-PSOE, Jorge González, learned of the rupture of the municipal group through the media and said he was the one who communicated his expulsion to the mayor by telephone. Josefa Mesa, island secretary of Organization, explained the process of mediation meetings and accused Mena of not executing the agreements they reached, deteriorating the image of the PSOE and causing the Arona City Council to become ungovernable. Dácil León, Councilor for Economic Promotion and Employment until last January, said that he had “heard comments on the street that money was being asked to extract files,” he spoke of recordings contributed by Luis García, of “a kind of plot”, that Councilors were forbidden to hold meetings and interfere with the mayor’s advisor and “people outside” the municipal government. Sebastián Roque, a former Sports leader, attributed to Mena a lack of trust, leadership, transparency and management, as well as not dismissing his advisor and “not moving away from outside companies”, citing Felipe Campos as such.