With the appearance of Mariano Rajoy, the ‘Kitchen commission’ of the Congress of Deputies closed its sessions on Monday, aimed at investigating the operation through which a police operation allegedly organized the espionage of former Popular Party treasurer Luis Bárcenas to steal material that compromised the PP and thus prevent him from coming to justice. The former Prime Minister was the last to appear in a commission whose activity lasted almost a year and in which 40 people have declared, including the former Minister of the Interior. Jorge Fernández Díaz, the former Secretary of State for Security Francisco Martinez and numerous police officers and senior police officers.
Unlike other appearing parties, Rajoy answered all the questions and had bitter duels with the socialist spokesman, Felipe Sicilia, and with the ERC spokesman, Gabriel Rufián. Rajoy denied everything and continually appealed to the presumption of innocence. He denied that it is proven that the PP had a ‘box b’, when there are three sentences that affirm it – the first stage of Gürtel, the one of the Supreme Court on this case and the payment in black of the reforms in the headquarters of Genoa, 13 – and that the PP has been condemned for it. He said he was unaware of everything related to the ‘Kitchen operation’ and denied knowing or having greeted the former commissioner Jose Manuel Villarejo, as well as that messages had been exchanged with him.
Rajoy was a fronton in front of the deputies who cited him the times that his name has been evoked by several policemen or by the former Secretary of State for Security, although it is true that in the judicial summary of the case there are no direct indications against him –Only third party references– and has not been charged by the judge nor requested its imputation by the prosecution. This same Monday, Villarejo again implicated him with the argument that it was impossible for Rajoy not to know about the operation, but the former president assured that the former commissioner and Bárcenas lie to defend themselves.
One of the problems the commission has had is its simultaneity with the judicial investigation, a fact that has led some appearing parties – such as the former secretary general of the PP, Dolores de Cospedal – to refuse to testify to preserve their defense before the judge. This simultaneity was harshly denounced by the PP spokesperson, Cuca Gamarra, who disqualified the investigation commissions because they do not seek the truth, but propaganda, an argument that would deserve consideration if the PP never proposed investigation commissions, but continues to do so. when they affect the PSOE or other parties (recently, it has proposed one on the government’s action at the start of the pandemic).
It is true that the conclusions of the parliamentary commissions of inquiry can only be political and are insufficient to clarify the cases they are investigating due to lack of material means. Irregular actions in the form of criminal charges are not revealed, but more or less politically reprehensible attitudes are publicly exposed, and those of the PP leaders are not being exemplary at all. However, judicial action is more decisive and in the Kitchen operation the justice has been investigating for some time, there are enough indications to believe that the espionage of Bárcenas existed – it remains to be clarified if it only came from the Ministry of the Interior or the PP as a party also intervened – and no less than a former Minister of the Interior and his deputy, the former Secretary of State for Security, are on trial. n