The Chamber of Senators cut G. 10 billion from the Public Ministry’s budget on Wednesday. With this, the public entity goes from having G. 639,000 million to G. 628,000 million (From US $ 93 million to US $ 92 million) for the period 2022. The final decision will be made by the Chamber of Deputies next week, when rework the document.
It is worth mentioning that a month ago, on September 22, Sandra Quiñónez, State Attorney General, met with the legislators of the Upper House. On the occasion, he requested an increase of G. 149,000 million (US $ 22 million). The resources would come from the treasury. The reason was to increase the salary of officials who earn less than G. 10 million by 10%. In addition to the creation of 393 new positions (currently they have approximately 5,000 employees).
However, far from achieving the increases, they suffered further cuts that will affect, mainly the forensic laboratory.
Elida Favole, communication director of the Public Ministry (MP), reported that until 2021, the Prosecutor’s Office had already suffered budget cuts of G. 58,000 million. (US $ 8.5 million). This was accentuated on Wednesday, when the Senate again approved another cut for G. 10 billion (US $ 1.5 million).
“The causes have tripled from organized crime, public corruption, drug trafficking to the most sensitive such as family violence, abuse, trafficking and femicide,” he said.
In relation to this point, about 90,000 cases are treated each year referring to women, girls and adolescents in different aspects. At the country level there are only 60 psychologists and 86 forensic doctors. Therefore, a case of abuse or other violence suffered by the victim, must wait an average of three months to receive psychological assistance.
The interviewee pointed out that the lack of personnel is due precisely to the lack of budgetary resources.
“We do not request increases. What they are asking for is the replacement of their cuts, that the G. 58,000 million be returned ”, he affirmed.
The MP’s current budget is G. 628,000 million (US $ 92 million). Just for comparison, the Judiciary has G. 1,600 billion (US $ 234 million).
Regarding personnel, the Office of the Prosecutor has 340 prosecutors, 60 psychologists, 80 experts and no auditor.
According to the same director, the ideal to have an optimal functioning are; 600 prosecutors, 200 psychologists, 120 experts and at least five auditors.
“In the MP, experts can earn between G. 5 to 7 million. But in the private sector they earn up to G. 50 million for a single expert opinion ”, he pointed out.
Regarding causes, they currently register 190 thousand a year, but among Chicanas and preliminary hearings they do not run out in the same year. About 100,000 remain fluctuating to be served the following year. So in a year, between 290,000 to 300,000 causes must be attended.
Five years ago, the average number of cases per year was around 150,000 to 160,000. So there is a gradual increase in work.