The deputies represent the people because the people have voted for them, and therefore they must be protected from possible attacks by the judiciary. That is the source of your immunity. It happened in 1512 that Richard Strode, a member of the English Parliament, wanted to present a legislative initiative to improve the working conditions of tin miners. However, a court arrested Strode to prevent him from going to Parliament, since his initiative could hinder mining production. Parliament reacted immediately with a provision that is the origin of parliamentary immunity, and which forced the deputy to be released immediately. English history knows several similar later cases. The ‘lawfare’ has precedents.
The case of deputy Alberto Rodríguez will also go down in history. What will be told is that he was sentenced to a 45-day prison sentence that he did not serve as he could be replaced by a fine of 540 euros. It will also be said that the sentence violated the presumption of innocence, by giving total credibility to the laconic testimony of the police-victim in disregard of all the rest of the evidence that introduced a more than reasonable doubt about the existence of the crime. And that, in addition, the court imposed as an accessory penalty that the deputy could not be elected if there were elections during that 45-day period of the sentence. That and nothing else is what the sentence says.
The parliamentary groups of Vox and PP asked that the status of deputy will be withdrawn to Alberto Rodríguez. Faced with the surprising request, reading the tenor of the sentence, the lawyers of Congress drew up a very complete report in which they suggested rejecting said request, a suggestion that the congressional table by a large majority wanted to follow. But, despite this, the president of Congress decided to ask the court for clarification on how to proceed, a request that was rejected by the president of Chamber II of the Supreme Court, Manuel Marchena, without further explanation to remember – unnecessarily – that the Supreme Court is not an advisory body, referring the president to the reading of the sentence but, and this is important, without clarifying whether the main prison sentence was replaced by the fine and paid this, the accessory penalty was maintained and, above all, if it implied the loss of the status of deputy. And it is that what Meritxell Batet asked was not “advice & rdquor ;, but simply that the court tell him exactly what he had to do to comply with the sentence, which the court did not do, and this is also important. Both the sentence and the response to the president were ambiguous on this point, although a minimally essential logic leads us to understand that once the main thing has disappeared, the accessory dies.
The president, upon receiving the non-response from the Supreme Court, decided to remove the deputy. She did not wait to receive an eventual –and improbable– direct and final request from the Supreme Court, without which it would have been impossible for her to be charged for disobedience, provided that Congress had granted the “supplication & rdquor ;, which is saying a lot. This would have given the deputy time to file an appeal for amparo before the Constitutional Court, which had to order the suspension of that phantasmagoric accessory penalty of disqualification so as not to make the appeal lose its purpose, due to the obvious irreparable damage of the loss of the deputy certificate.
It was not so. It was decided not to even evaluate the extreme fragility of the argument of the conviction, which Congress was obliged to do precisely to preserve the division of powers, which sometimes must be defended by legitimately questioning a judicial resolution, as history teaches. The most adverse interpretation has been applied to the offender –which is prohibited by Criminal Law– and the least favorable to the right to political representation, which contravenes the reiterated doctrine of the Constitutional Court in this regard and is unusual in a legislative chamber.
A deputy has ceased to be one for a precarious sentence derived from a very slight fact fined 540 euros. Congress has not protected its deputy. It is not just any fact. Can’t look the other way.