BRASILIA — With the votes mapped out, deputies from the Centrão and PT will resume talks next week to try to approve the Proposal for Amendment to the Constitution (PEC), which threatens the investigative power of the Public Ministry. Withdrawn from the agenda the day before yesterday, the proposal is one of the priorities of the President of the Chamber, Arthur Lira (PP-AL). The idea is to negotiate changes and, if necessary, give in on controversial points to garner more votes.
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With strong resistance from prosecutors and prosecutors, the PEC changes the composition rules of the National Council of the Public Ministry (CNMP), the body responsible for overseeing the conduct of MP members throughout Brazil. Opposing parliamentarians try to suppress at least two points they consider harmful. One of them establishes that the collegiate magistrate can only be appointed by Congress. The other, in practice, may grant the council the power to overrule investigative measures. The text allows the board to review the functional acts of members of the MP, and has been considered a step backwards by members of the MP and specialists.
Given the lack of agreement for the vote, on the afternoon of yesterday, the leader of the government in the Chamber, Ricardo Barros (PP-PR), voiced the concern on the part of the deputies. In an emphatic speech, he argued that it was necessary to send a message to the Public Ministry. According to him, prosecutors act to embarrass the political class. When the hypothesis was raised that it would be necessary to negotiate with the MP itself, who had exerted pressure on the issue, Barros countered:
— A good project is an approved project.
Without a majority to guarantee approval, the vice president of the Chamber, Marcelo Ramos (PL-AM), in charge of the House, since Lira is on a trip, decided to postpone the assessment of the proposal until next week. At least 308 votes are required to approve a PEC. A request to withdraw from the agenda gave the thermometer of support for the text. They guided parties such as the PP, PL, PSD, MDB and even the PSDB for the continuity of voting, although the tucana caucus was divided.
Asked by GLOBO if the PEC would be a response from the political class to the MP, Barros replied:
— They (MP members) know that they need adjustments and that the change will be welcome. They know your inner problems better than anyone else.
After the session, parliamentarians told GLOBO that Lira was closely following the developments of the plenary by telephone. The mayor was in Rome, where he participated in a preparatory event for the United Nations Climate Conference (COP).
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One of the deputies reported that the president of the Chamber was “on the ear” of Marcelo Ramos. The deputy of the Chamber, however, told interlocutors that he only called Lira twice, and that following the votes, even from afar, was the norm.
Parties such as PSL, PSB, PDT, Podemos, PSOL, Novo and Rede were positioned against voting. There was also counter pressure from the so-called bullet bench, formed by congressmen linked to the security forces, and which, starting next week, will also sit at the negotiating table.
In plenary, the PSDB, whose bench was partially convinced by Lira, was divided. São Paulo attorney and federal deputy, Carlos Sampaio (PSDB-SP) considered the proposal absurd. And he criticized the cash proceeding. The PEC was approved by the Constitution and Justice Commission (CCJ) in May. Afterwards, the Chamber formed a special commission, but the deadline for discussions ran out without in-depth debate. Still, Lira decided to take it to the plenary.
“It was unbelievable what happened. The Chamber presidency shamefully tried to approve, without the matter being debated in the special commission for this purpose. It dismantled the commission and tried to approve. It’s an absurd interference. It ends the independence of the Public Ministry,” complained Sampaio.
In the same vein, the leader of Novo, Paulo Ganime (RJ), objects to the initiative. He understands that congressional interference in the CNMP can encourage corruption and serve as an obstacle to investigations:
— It’s putting the fox to take care of the chicken coop.