President of Senate says Attorney-General's decision is part of democratic process

11/04/2006 - 19h48

Marcos Chagas
Reporter - Agência Brasil

Brasília - Regarding the decision by the Attorney-General of the Republic, Antônio Fernando de Souza, to bring charges before the Federal Supreme Court against 40 individuals supposedly involved in the vote-buying scheme known as the "mensalão" (big monthly allowance), the president of the Senate, Renan Calheiros (PMDB-AL), said that he accompanied "the entire investigative process" conducted by the Joint Parliamentary Investigatory Commission (CPMI) on the Post Office and "did all he could" to help the CPMI arrive at a conclusion.

"That is what the democratic process is. A CPI was conducted, and its result was issued," he observed, adding that it is hard to comment without being familiar with the arguments presented by the Attorney-General.

The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Aldo Rebelo (PCdoB-SP), justified the decision on the grounds that the Public Defense Ministry (MP) has the authority to carry out its own investigations. "The CPIs always furnish the MP with material for its own investigations. If he took this initiative, the matter is now in the hands of the Judiciary," he declared.

The Senate minority leader, José Jorge (PFL-PE) considered the decision "just." "The MP could not have done anything else. There are many proofs." For his part, the leader of the PMDB in the Senate, Ney Suassuna (PB) was "surprised" by the news. "But I know that the MP has a basis in its own investigations. It has been investigating this matter for some time in conjunction with the Federal Police." According to Suassuna, the charges were "consistent with the list submitted by the CPMI on the Post Office."

Translation: David Silberstein