By Maria Carolina Marcello
BRASILIA (Reuters) – Congress President Rodrigo Pacheco (DEM-MG) reiterated this Friday that the Senate’s uneasiness with the Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defense was due to statements by the president of Covid’s CPI in Home, Omar Aziz (PSD-AM), was clarified and is closed, and warned that anyone trying to revive the episode will be doing a disservice.
Even so, Pacheco, who had already talked the day before with Defense Minister Walter Braga Netto and Army Commander General Paulo Sérgio Nogueira de Oliveira, stated that he will seek out the Navy and Air Force commanders, with whom he still did not talk about the issue.
The initiative was taken after an interview with the Air Force commander, Brigadier Carlos Almeida Baptista Junior, to the newspaper O Globo, about the episode, in which the brigadier stated that “an armed man does not threaten”.
“My role in this episode was a role of clarification for both sides,” said the senator about the dialogue he had with the defense minister and the army commander.
“And both the Senate and the Armed Forces understood this clarification, and closed the matter. So that everyone, with the exception of the press, which is your duty to reflect facts, but everyone who wants to revive this specific episode ends up doing a disservice, because this matter is closed and duly clarified by both parties” , the senator told reporters.
Pacheco explained that the reaction of the Defense and Forces commanders in an official note was based on the “mistaken principle” that Aziz’s statements offered a generalized aggression against them. At the same time, he recalled that the president of the CPI and other senators classified the speech as punctual and ruled out the possibility of addressing the institution in general.
The congressman said that when looking for the Air Force and Navy commanders, he will follow the “same line with the Army commander.”
“I think this is important, that we have to seek to pacify. With the necessary firmness to affirm our positions, but always allow room for dialogue”, he declared.
The president of the Legislature also rejected criticism from senators, including the CPI rapporteur, Renan Calheiros (MDB-AL), who demanded a more assertive stance in defense of the institution and the exercise of parliamentary activities.
In defending respect for democratic principles and the separation between Powers, he reaffirmed the independence of the National Congress, “which will not admit any attack on its independence and, above all, on the prerogatives of parliamentarians of words, opinions and votes, which naturally they must be protected in a democracy”.
Aziz’s statements took place on Wednesday, during the testimony of former director of Logistics at the Ministry of Health Roberto Dias, accused of participating in an alleged bribery scheme in the purchase of vaccines against Covid-19, which involved members of the Armed Forces.
At the time, the president of the CPI stated that “the Armed Forces, the good guys in the Armed Forces must be very ashamed of some people who are in the media today, because it had been a long time, it had been many years since Brazil had seen members of the bad side of the Armed Forces involved in fraud within the government”.
In an almost immediate response, the defense minister and the commanders of the Armed Forces rejected the statements in a statement as they considered that they disrespect the military and generalized “corruption schemes”.
“This narrative, removed from the facts, affects the Armed Forces in a vile and frivolous way, being a serious, unfounded and, above all, irresponsible accusation,” said the note signed by the Minister of Defense and the commanders of the Armed Forces.
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