The Attorney General of the Republic, Augusto Aras, said today (24), that he has been acting in a technical and discreet manner in front of the Attorney General’s Office (PGR), respecting the constitutional competence of the institutions and fulfilling the commitment he assumed in September 2019, when the Senate approved the presidential nomination of his name to head the Federal Public Ministry (MPF).
“We seek to preserve the technical capacities and institutional competences of the constituted powers, defending the prudent self-restraint of constitutional jurisdiction in matters that advance the definition of programs, policies and matters pertaining to the Executive and Legislative powers”, declared the attorney general during the meeting of the Constitution and Justice Committee (CCJ) of the Senate, which must decide, on Tuesday, the reappointment of Aras to the position, for another two years.
“In this aspect, I fulfilled my duty, here engaged in the last Saturday. I did not allow the Public Ministry to want to replace the Legislative, Judiciary or Executive Power. To comply with the Constitution is to understand the separation of powers, it is to know that the duty to oversee unlawful conduct does not give members of the Public Ministry any power inherent to the constituted powers – defined in the second article of the Constitution, as independent and autonomous from each other”, added Aras .
In office since September 2019, Aras was appointed by President Jair Bolsonaro to continue commanding the Public Ministry for the biennium 2021-2023. If approved by the CCJ, the nomination will still need to be confirmed in the Senate Plenary.
When taking stock of his management, Aras said he was satisfied with what he had accomplished. He mentioned administrative advances, such as reducing the average period of stay of the judicial process in the MPF from four to two days, a greater number of services to citizens and the monitoring, by the Public Ministry, of the public actions taken to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic , but emphasized data related to criminal activity.
“We filed 46 complaints against authorities with the prerogative of jurisdiction in the STF [Supremo Tribunal Federal] and in the STJ [Superior Tribunal de Justiça]. We entered into 34 award-winning collaboration agreements, with a significant increase in the value of fines. We opened more than 150 inquiries”, he commented, after criticizing the former task force Lava Jato, a model of action of the Public Ministry that Aras said had culminated “in a series of irregularities”.
“The model had a series of shortcomings – including the lack of regulation; the absence of objective criteria for the establishment and also for the allocation of amounts resulting from award-winning collaboration agreements and payment of fines, in addition to high costs with daily rates, tickets, security guards and escorts of its members”, pointed out the attorney general.
“The lack of institutionality, especially in some investigation procedures, also resulted in a gap in the documentation of important actions, in detriment to the principles of impersonality and legality. It is notorious that teams from the former PGR task force carried out trips to New York and Switzerland, in the context of supposed international cooperation, of which no records were found in the PGR systems. Minister Lewandowski [do STF] it collected these documents, but we have had many difficulties in locating them” added Aras, again defending the importance of a “technical and discreet” action on the part of the PGR.
“In the last 23 months, we performed 35 operations without selective leaks or media leaks. If every two monthly operations we had selectively disclosed information about those investigated, I might have been receiving praise, but I fulfilled my constitutional function sparingly, without scandals.”
Aras responded to criticism of his role in cases involving political agents claiming to want to avoid injustice. “Denunciations filed without sufficient evidential backing later end up frustrating expectations and discrediting the justice system”, he commented after saying that it is up to the MPF to enforce the Federal Constitution, in order to provide legal certainty that, in his words, serves as “a stabilizer for social relations and for the performance of the institutions of the Republic, especially in moments when society experiences an extreme polarization”.
“An increasing number of criminal representations have arrived at the PGR every day, many of them conveying an attempt to criminalize political acts or critical demonstrations. In an official letter to the STF, I highlighted that the Attorney General of the Republic is both the holder of the criminal action and the defender of individual rights and guarantees, especially so that we do not reach the policy except in what is effectively necessary to fight crime. In this way, we act in strict compliance with constitutional and legal norms”, added Aras, noting that, upon being notified of possible crimes whose investigation is under its responsibility, the PGR has immediately instituted procedures to analyze the case and take appropriate measures .
“This was, for example, the way to investigate the possible attempt to interfere in the Federal Police; undemocratic acts; suspicions of statements and apology for homophobia by the then Minister of Education, in September 2020; the role of the Minister of Health during the pandemic; the suspicion of administrative advocacy by the then Minister of the Environment and the alleged practice of malfeasance by the President of the Republic. In all these procedures, we first carried out a thorough analysis in order not to create unfair difficulties for anyone”, concluded the prosecutor.
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