For the second time in the history of the Public Ministry, a prosecutor of the Nation decided to open an investigation to a president of the Republic during the exercise of his office. This time it was Pedro Castillo, who has been in charge of the Executive for just five months.
However, although the decision to suspend the investigation of Martín Vizcarra in October 2020 for his links with Richard Cisneros Carballido, better known as ‘Richard Swing’, generated controversy, the same measure that he adopted with Castillo Terrones has generated a debate among constitutionalists and specialists.
Here we will present everything that is known about this case:
What did the prosecutor of the Nation order and what is it based on?
The prosecutor of the Nation, Zoraida Avalos, opened a preliminary investigation to the president Pedro Castillo for the alleged commission of crimes against the public administration (aggravated influence peddling, as the author) and collusion (as a participant) to the detriment of the State.
In this investigation, there are facts attributable to the head of state in the tender for the ‘Puente Tarata III’ project (San Martín) and in the tender to supply Biodiesel B100 to Petroperú, in the period January-April 2022.
In this way, it is attributed to Terrones Castle, to have intervened – improperly and indirectly – in the public bidding process for the construction of the Tarata vehicular bridge over the Huallaga river (San Martín) so that the Ministry of Transport and Communications, through Decentralized Provías, grants the good pro in favor of the Puente Tarata III consortium.
For this purpose, it would have had the participation of Karelim López Arredondo, with whom he would maintain a close relationship who, in his capacity as advisor to one of the companies that is part of the aforementioned consortium, presumably took steps with the president to favor the award of said project to the Tarata III consortium, for S / 232.5 million , as happened on October 19, 2021.
The head of state is also credited with having intervened – improperly and indirectly – in the process for the acquisition of Biodiesel B100 in the local market for the period January-April 2022, with the aim that the company Heaven Petroleum Operator, directed by Samir Abudayeh, win a contract for the sum of US $ 74 million.
In order to achieve this purpose, Castillo would have had the intervention of Karelim López Arredondo, who registers an entry to the Government Palace on the same date and time as the general manager of Petroperú, Hugo Chávez Arévalo, and the biodiesel supplier Samir Abudayeh, that is, on October 18, 2021. It should be noted that three days later From this meeting (October 21), Petroperú issued a service order to buy biodiesel for its plants.
In both cases, the intervention of Karelim Lopez, who would have a friendly relationship with Bruno Pacheco, former secretary general of the Presidency of the Republic, and with the Castle, as evidenced by the visits made to the house located in the Sarratea shred, in Breña, where the president would have attended several times, at night, to meet with different people.
Similarly, Lopez Arredondo He was also in charge of organizing the children’s birthday party for the president’s youngest daughter, held on October 27, 2021, for which he would have directly contacted a well-known event animator.
The office of the prosecutor of the Nation also issued a second provision with which it opens a preliminary investigation to Terrones Castle for the alleged interference in military promotions. In this case, he is charged with the crimes of influence peddling and illegal sponsorship.
What generated the controversy was that Ávalos Rivera also ordered that the initiation of the investigation acts be suspended until the end of the mandate of Pedro Castillo by reason of his absolute immunity “That transcends the criminal procedural field”.
What did the prosecutor Ramiro González say?
The representative of the Public Ministry, who took the testimony of President Pedro Castillo at the Government Palace on the alleged irregular promotions in the Armed Forces, affirmed that the president did not give a coherent explanation in this regard.
In RPP Noticias, he indicated that this point was considered one of the reasons for the investigation opened by the Attorney General’s Office against the head of state.
The coordinating prosecutor of the area of constitutional complaints of the Office of the Public Prosecutor of the Nation, recalled that Castillo acknowledged that he communicated with the retired Army general, José Vizcarra, when he was the Army’s general commander via WhatsApp to talk about officer promotions.
However, according to the president’s version before the prosecutors, his intention was not to promote a promotion but to warn about the negligence of the officer alluded to in the chat on a helicopter trip to Puña (Tacabamba – Cajamarca) where the president was.
González Rodríguez also rejected the questions about an alleged delay by the National Prosecutor, Zoraida Ávalos, in initiating an investigation into Pedro Castillo, and indicated that to investigate a president “You have to gather the elements” enough.
Finally, he indicated that the investigations must respect the presidential institution “It doesn’t matter who the president is” because “The prosecution cannot be turned into a political instrument”.
What did the attorney and the ombudsman answer?
The ombudsman, Walter Gutiérrez, assured that after the five years of Pedro Castillo’s government it is very difficult for an investigation to know the truth, commenting on the decision of the National Prosecutor, Zoraida Ávalos, to suspend the investigations against the head of state until the end of his mandate.
“It says that an investigation will be opened from 2026. Why is an investigation opened from 2026? Why is a preliminary investigation opened? To secure the evidence, carry out urgent actions, that is the objective […] There is no remote possibility of knowing the truth after four or five years, very little possibility “, he pointed out in an interview with RPP.
“I believe that the Prosecutor’s Office has made an orthodox, historical but wrong reading. I do not share that reading because it was born from the Constitution approved in 1992, but in 1940 and until 2003 or 2004 the Code of Criminal Procedures was in force, which said that the judge at the same time investigated and tried. In this context, it makes sense because a single justice official investigated and tried “, evaluated on the decision of the prosecutor of the Nation.
In turn, the Attorney General of the State, Daniel SoriaHe said he was evaluating what actions to take after questioning the suspension of the investigation against Pedro Castillo.
“We are evaluating which additional roads to travel. Because it is a conflict of constitutional interpretation, the call to solve it is the constitutional judge, who is in the Judicial Power and in the TC, which is the supreme interpreter of the constitution “He told the press after going to a reserved session of the Supervisory Commission.
He also pointed out that one option would be to change article 117 of the Constitution. “But for that, two legislatures are needed, and we do not have the powers to reform the constitution, but there are other ways. That is our job as lawyers for the Peruvian state. At the level of the nation’s prosecutor’s office, this obstacle of interpretation makes it impossible to advance in the investigation, that controversy has to be settled in order to continue with the other steps “, he asserted.