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Not only big fish

OPINION: The arrest of bigwigs will not be complete if those who helped them divert resources are not captured as well
César Duarte - File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
21/06/2017
10:00
Mexico City
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Each year, political parties receive billions of pesos from the treasury for their ordinary activities and campaign expenses. In 2017, the registered parties received a total of 4 thousand 138 million pesos of public financing. At the time of federal elections the figure increases.

In addition to these resources, they can receive contributions from militancy, sympathizers and financial returns. What the law prohibits is that the Executive, Legislative and Judicial powers of the Federation and entities make contributions or donations, except as provided in the Constitution. Nor can federal, state or municipal bodies or agencies give out resources to political parties.

EL UNIVERSAL published last Tuesday that César Duarte Jáquez, former governor of Chihuahua, diverted more than 10 billion pesos from public funds to the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), so the Specialized Prosecutor's Office for Electoral Crimes (FEPADE) asked a judge for his detention. During the ex-president's six-year term, 700 state employees were retained 10% of their salaries, which was destined for the treasury of local PRI.

Persecuted also by suspicions of corruption in his administration (since April Interpol issued a search warrant after the request of the Attorney General's Office), César Duarte may join the list of detained governors accused of embezzlement.

The capture of the so-called bigwigs has been a long-standing demand in the fight against corruption; for years it was criticized that officials accused of embezzlement were not being investigated or detained. In the last year, three former governors have been detained and Duarte Jáquez could be the fourth.

The actions taken to punish those who use their positions in order to seize public money or for personal or political interests can not be discussed. Despite this, the arrest of bigwigs will not be complete if those who helped them divert resources are not captured as well.

For an operation of embezzlement one single person is not sufficient, a multi-layered framework is required. Dismantling and explaining these networks must be fundamental if justice wants to apply exemplary punishments.

In the case of Chihuahua, it is also necessary to investigate the party which was allegedly benefited with the discounted money to employees. If the diversion is confirmed, citizens' mistrust and discontent will increase with the actions of politicians who, in their quest for power, do not mind breaking laws or misusing public resources.

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