President Pedro Castillo’s attempt to promote officer rank promotion close to his environment, outside the evaluation process of the Armed Forces, will be investigated by disposition of the prosecutor of the Nation, Patricia Benavides.
On Tuesday, January 4 of this year, the then Prosecutor of the Nation, Zoraida Avalos, decided to suspend the investigation it initiated against Castillo and others for the presumed crime of influence peddling, in relation to their meddling in the promotion process of high-ranking officers of the Armed forces.
According to Ávalos, he froze the tax investigation until Pedro Castillo concludes his mandate, in application of the provisions of the Constitution, which prescribes that a sitting head of state can only be impeached if he faces a case of treason against the fatherland, dissolving Congress or preventing elections presidential, congressional, regional or municipal.
However, the National Prosecutor, 13 days after taking office, disagreed with her predecessor’s decision and decided to reactivate the investigation for the alleged crime of influence peddling against peter castleas author.
The National Prosecutor, Patricia Benavidez, ordered a preliminary investigation against the head of state and summoned him for Thursday, August 4. He also called for July 18 to lobbyist Karelim Lópezfor the 19th of the same month businessman Zamir Villaverde and former presidential secretary Bruno Pacheco for August 3.
Six other Army officers have been included, including the former Army Commander General, Major General Jose Vizcarra Alvarez.
It was precisely the General Vizcarra who upon learning from the official newspaper El Peruano, on Wednesday, November 3, 2021, that relieved of duty and retiredmade public the interference of President Castillo and his former secretary Pacheco in the promotion process.
By then, La República had published reports on the attempts of those close to the Government to promote the promotion of some officers outside the process.
On October 23, 2021, the official newspaper El Peruano disclosed the supreme resolutions signed by President Pedro Castillo and the then Minister of Defense, Walter Ayalaaccounting for promotions to higher ranks in the Armed Forces.
Thirteen days later, on Wednesday, November 3, 2021, President Castillo, surprisingly, dismissed General José Vizcarra. And this one, on Monday, November 8, in an interview with Radioprogramas, He affirmed that he was outraged for refusing the request of the head of state to include recommended officers on the list of promotions. Among them, officers known in the military institution itself as ‘Los Chotanos’: EP Colonel Ciro Bocanegra Loayza and EP Commander Víctor Torres Quispe.
The first, the son of a friend of the head of state, who in September 2021 was summoned to work at the Government Palace, and the second was a pilot of the presidential helicopter.
Vizcarra then gave the National Prosecutor’s Office a copy of the WhatsApp chat that he exchanged with president castlewhich showed that, indeed, he consulted him about the officers Cyrus Bocanegra Y Victor Torres.
On December 28, when questioned by Supreme Deputy Prosecutor Ramiro Gonzáles, Pedro Castillo denied having interceded on behalf of the officers, and later said he did not recall speaking privately with General Vizcarra on the subject. A few days later, on December 4, 2021, the then National Prosecutor decided to suspend the investigation.
Interviewed by La República, the former Commander General of the Army José Vizcarra Álvarez welcomed the mandate of the Nation’s prosecutor, Patricia Benavides, and ratified her testimony on the interference of Pedro Castillo in the promotion process.
Pressure from the Palace
“When the case began to be investigated, I handed over all the information to the prosecutor. The decision of the Nation’s prosecutor to resume the investigation is healthy because I believe that the facts should be deepened, “said General Vizcarra.
“Although I have not yet been notified, I will be available to answer any questions that may be necessary,” General Vizcarra said.
Former Commander General José Vizcarra He also provided the authorities with copies of the WhatsApp chats with the former minister. defense Walter Ayala.
In the dialogue it was evident that Vizcarra had been relieved because he did not accept the request of the head of state to promote his relatives.
On November 7, 4 days after he was discharged, Vizcarra claimed Ayala for having passed him to retirement without notifying hima mandatory protocol.
“Mr. Minister, you summoned me when more than 8 hours had passed since the publication of El Peruano (about the dismissal). I have it registered. And I have all the messages from President Castillo’s assistant (the secretary of the presidency) regarding the request for promotion. You are lying,” Vizcarra wrote to Ayala.
The former Minister of Defense questioned the decision of the National Prosecutor, Patricia Benavides, because, according to his argument, there is no basis to reactivate the case.
“Regarding the case, the deadlines have already expired, and it was July 9 of this year. There is no argument for an expansion of the investigation,” said former Minister Ayala.
“I am going to present a guardianship of right for the expiration of the term. There is no justification and I see that the Public Ministry he is abusing his faculties,” he said.
Regarding the accusations of General José Vizcarra, and the content of the WhatsApp messages that would involve him, Walter Ayala insisted that the case lacked evidence.
“You can tell him firsthand that there is no evidence that I have applied for promotions for these Army officers because I did not know them,” said Walter Ayala.
In the story of General Vizcarra appears former presidential secretary Bruno Pachecowho, commissioned by Pedro Castillo, insisted on the promotion of those recommended by the head of state.
“That’s where I was outraged. I’m going to realize that I haven’t heard it. I ask you, again, to speak with the president,” General Vizcarra told Bruno Pacheco.
In order to try to change the list of promotions and include his recommendations, Castillo delayed the official publication creating an unjustifiable situation of uncertainty in the Armed Forces.
Who are those cited in the case of promotions
The Army officers cited are former Commander General José Vizcarra Álvarez and EP Colonel Ciro Bocanegra Loayza, for whom President Castillo was seeking promotion.
Listed include Colonel EP Carlos Sanchez CahuancamaAssigned to first lady Lilia Paredes and Commander EP Víctor Torres Quispe, who was the pilot of the helicopter that President Castillo frequently traveled to.
Another officer is Colonel Youri Hurtado Llanoswho officiated as aide-de-camp to former Defense Minister Walter Ayala.
Bruno Pacheco is included in the list of those mentioned, as well as Zamir Villaverde and Karelim López, who have stated that they were aware of the pressure from the head of state to promote their relatives.
In public. General José Vizcarra Álvarez in an interview with Radioprogramas, on November 8, 2021, mentioned that President Pedro Castillo and former Secretary Bruno Castillo requested promotions for their recommendations.
Ratification. General Vizcarra told RPP that when he questioned Bruno Pacheco’s request, he replied: “The president has to choose his people,” alluding to his recommendations.