Raised to the position of advisors to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, lawyers with a profile critical of Operation Lava Jato and aligned with the PT candidacy seek to introduce a proposal for reform of the Judiciary in the former president’s future government plan. Among the priorities are changes in the National Council of the Public Ministry (CNMP) and in the National Council of Justice (CNJ) and the adoption of the guarantees judge. According to these lawyers – who, for the most part, defended or are defending defendants and investigated in anti-corruption actions -, the guidelines are a reaction to “abuses” by Lava Jato, which led Lula to prison for corruption and money laundering.
The proposal has been elaborated by Grupo Prerogativas, sponsor of a December dinner in São Paulo, which marked Lula’s first appearance alongside former governor Geraldo Alckmin. Created in 2014 as a reaction by criminalists to the operation, the group works to “deconstruct” the image of former judge Sérgio Moro – who condemned Lula and is now his opponent in the dispute for the Planalto. The movement aligns itself with the PT to those who consider a possible future Lula government as an opportunity for a “settling of accounts”. For this very reason, it already arouses alerts and objections from prosecutors and justice names.
“Lula is the only political leadership capable of leading a process of reviewing our inspection and control mechanisms, CNJ and CNMP, because he was the president who most respected the institutions,” he told the newspaper. Estadão/Broadcast the coordinator of Prerogativas, Marco Aurélio de Carvalho. “So you have no qualms about offering support for him. It is a natural consequence.”
A member of the PT, Carvalho was coordinator of the party’s legal sector and became close to Lula. He spent New Year’s Eve at the former president’s residence, in São Paulo, alongside former mayor Fernando Haddad and deputy Rui Falcão (PT-SP). In 2018, Haddad’s candidacy for the presidency was supported by Prerogativas.
Former president of the Federal Supreme Court, Carlos Velloso said he suspected the “hidden desire behind” the initiative. “I don’t know the terms of the proposal. So, I have nothing to say about its merits. However, I am always afraid of proposals to reform the control body of the Public Ministry, the Judiciary, lawyers and the press. There is always a hidden desire behind. And it is surprising that such a proposal comes from an association of lawyers”, he said.
Once formulated, the proposal for changes in the justice system will be suggested and may integrate the PT plan for 2022. Names such as the governor of Maranhão, Flávio Dino (PSB), and former deputy Wadih Damous (PT-RJ) should be heard . Experienced criminalists with no party affiliation or connection with the PT will also be part of the discussions, such as Alberto Toron, who defends deputy Aécio Neves (PSDB-MG), and Antonio Claudio Mariz de Oliveira, lawyer for former president Michel Temer (MDB). Mariz said that he has not yet been called, but that Prerogativas has “a lot to contribute to any government that enters, whether it is Lula’s or another candidate’s”.
The starting point will be the Proposal for Amendment to Constitution 05, presented by deputy Paulo Teixeira (PT-SP) and which proposes to change the composition of the CNMP. The text – which was rejected – stiffened statute of limitations in disciplinary proceedings against prosecutors and prosecutors, removed a vacancy from the MP of the DF, transferred to the Chamber and Senate the choice of a career member for the council and opened the way for the internal affairs department of the Federal District. MP would also be exercised by counselors from outside the category.
In Congress, the PEC underwent amendments, which provided, for example, that the CNMP would have the power to annul investigations. After pressure from public prosecutors, it was rejected. At the time, prosecutors and prosecutors dubbed the project the “PEC of Vengeance”. The articulation of the proposal included PT, Bolsonaristas and members of Centrão.
“When CNMP and CNJ could put limits on the authoritarianism of judges and the MP, they didn’t do it enough. Sérgio Moro and all the misdeeds he did could only be resolved in the STF”, said retired attorney Lenio Streck, from Prerogativas. “The CNJ was created to optimize the functioning of the Judiciary. That’s not what happened.”
For the president of the National Association of Prosecutors of the Republic, Ubiratan Cazetta, any discussion to improve the functioning of the MP’s council is valid. “The problem is that the assumptions are wrong. When you propose to change the CNMP because it did not punish Lava Jato, you are discussing, or at least focusing on, an activity that the councils (including the CNJ) are not supposed to do”, he said, noting that the debate goes through ” independence and autonomy of the MP”. “This has to be discussed openly, it cannot be discussed transversally or under a false argument that the CNMP does not punish.”
More emphatically, the regional prosecutor Bruno Calabrich, who worked in Lava Jato cases, called the initiative of the group of criminalists “harmful”. “He deserves our repudiation, both as a prosecutor and a citizen. This proposal does not serve the public interest, but it may serve the interest of investigated defendants who fear an independent MP.”
According to lawyers from Prerogativas, another point to be taken forward is the incorporation of the judge of guarantees into the Criminal Procedure Code. It is a judge responsible only for validating investigative acts by the police and the MP. In case of offering a complaint, another magistrate would judge the case. The argument is that separation would give more impartiality in the conduct of criminal proceedings.
The institute was approved by Congress, but received criticism from Moro and faced resistance from the president of the Supreme Court, Luiz Fux – who even suspended the law and did not finish the work for the adoption of the judge of guarantees in the CNJ. At the end of 2021, Fux held public hearings on the subject.
In 2018, Haddad proposed “rethinking the role and composition” of the CNJ and CNMP and “instituting external ombudsmen, occupied by people who are not part of their careers, expanding the participation of society beyond the corporations of the justice system”.
In recent years, Lula has created a closer relationship with criminalists in the midst of several legal proceedings. In Congress, the PT turned against anti-corruption laws. And PT revisionism became explicit. Former president Dilma Rousseff, impeached, said she regretted having nominated the most voted on the triple list to the Attorney General’s Office.
Lula’s adviser stated that he “has not yet confirmed the candidacy” and has not started the process “of building a government plan”.
Presidential candidate of Podemos, Sérgio Moro said he was unaware of the details of “any PT proposal for the reform of the Judiciary or the Public Ministry”, but called the initiative a “threat to democracy”. “Because it assumes that the corruption scandals did not occur, that they should not be investigated and that prosecutors, police and judges should be punished so that no one else dares to oppose the party.”
Moro has already formed a group to, if elected, elaborate a reform that makes the Judiciary “more efficient and less costly”. He was provoked by members of Prerogatives to debate his plan. The presidential candidate reacted, calling for a direct confrontation with former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. “I debate with your boss, Lula, at any time, about the monthly allowance and petrolão.” The information is from the newspaper. The State of São Paulo.
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