Alberto Rodríguez does not throw in the towel. The former deputy of Podemos yesterday presented in the Constitutional Court (TC) an appeal to protector against the decision of the president of the Congress, Meritxell Batet, to strip him of the seat after the conviction of the Supreme Court (TS). Rodríguez demands that the TC, while the appeal is resolved, provisionally suspend Batet’s decision and allow him to continue as a deputy. The objective is to avoid the “irreparable damage” if he were proved right within a year and a half – the average period of resolution of such a matter – with the legislature already practically concluded.
Rodríguez’s defense accuses the President of Parliament of “inventing” a sanction not provided for in the legal system and of assigning herself in an “irresponsible” manner a competence “which she lacks” that has generated legal insecurity in Tenerife. The text calls the decision “unilateral, unfounded and arbitrary” and calls for a public hearing before the TC, something unusual.
The former parliamentarian convicted by the Supreme Court assures that he will fight “to the end” for justice to be done
The judgment of the Supreme Court imposed on Rodríguez on October 7 a sentence of 45 days in jail (replaced by a fine of 540 euros) and disqualification from the right to passive suffrage during the time of the sentence for having kicked a policeman during a demonstration in La Laguna (Tenerife) in December 2014.
The ruling sparked a tense debate on how the president of Congress should carry out the disqualification imposed. The legal services of the Lower House interpreted at the time that Rodríguez did not lose the status of deputy because the prison sentence had been commuted due to the fine, nor because of the “special disqualification for passive suffrage” established in the sentence, since they understood that It was linked to an electoral period and not to the current moment, in which he was already an elected deputy. But finally Batet chose to withdraw the act after receiving the clarifying note from the Supreme Court in which Manuel Marchena, president of the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court, insisted that the penalty imposed on him for an attack on authority implies his “obligatory” disqualification . Rodríguez even demanded, just a week ago, that Batet return the certificate to him after the end of his sentence, but the president of Congress remained firm when rejecting the petition, claiming that “although the prison sentence has expired, the disqualification is still in force.” .
The Tenerife man charges against the PSOE for opposing the return of his act in Congress
Rodríguez goes to the Constitutional Court because he considers that the president of Congress has violated his fundamental rights, and understands that “the proportionality or disproportionality” existing between a sentence of 45 days in prison must be clarified, – with the accessory of special disqualification for the right to passive suffrage -, and the “extra criminal” consequences that led to the loss of the seat. The defense insists that the TC must study whether the measure taken by Batet represents a “constitutional violation”, since the president of Congress does not have among her powers to deprive a member of Congress of his status as a deputy. The appeal emphasizes that the deprivation of the seat is “more severe” and of much longer duration than the sentence imposed in the criminal jurisdiction, and they argue that this affects the rights constitutionally guaranteed to Rodríguez.
In the letter addressed to the TC, Rodríguez’s lawyers point out that in this case there is “an evident difference in discriminatory treatment due to ideology and political significance”, and they recall that the man from Tenerife was a member of the Congress of Deputies “in representation of more than 64,000 voters belonging to a minority such as the Canary Islands ”.
Rodríguez’s appeal for protection goes further and in it it is stated that Batet invented a cause, not provided for in the Law, to seize the seat from the former member of the United We Can. For this, it is based on article 6 of the Organic Law of the Electoral Regime, on the causes of ineligibility for the office of deputy, which indicates that those sentenced by final sentence to custodial sentence are not eligible for the period that the sentence lasts. ; and those convicted by sentence, even if it is not final, for crimes of rebellion, terrorism, against the Public Administration or against State Institutions. The defense uses this article to emphasize that “it is a broad precept” that regulates cases other than that of the client.
The defense concludes that Rodríguez’s case does not comply with any assumption that entails the loss of his seat and insists that Batet’s was solely and exclusively a personal decision.
What is clear is that Rodríguez is not willing to throw in the towel easily and thus exposes it in a letter published together with the appeal for protection. “I will go to the end and if necessary I will go to the European Court of Human Rights,” he adds. And while his battle continues, he is ready to face whoever it takes. His latest target has been the PSOE parliamentary spokesman, Héctor Gómez, who publicly rejected Rodríguez’s request to regain the seat. The former congressman used Twitter to criticize the socialist’s position and to ask United Podemos if this “will go unpunished.”
With all this, the purple formation, and therefore the government coalition in the State, have since October, with one seat and one vote less than what they added on election day and after the subsequent legislative agreement.