A report from the Attorney General's Office indicates that the former minister's go into hiding was facilitated by “ineffective intelligence actions” by the police. Criminal lawyer consulted by El Comercio consider that two possible crimes could be investigated that could reach the Minister of the Interior and the President.
- Pedro Castillo would have planned roles in the alleged network, according to the prosecution
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Juan Silva has not been there since the beginning of June. He has a 15-day preliminary detention order (Photo: Congress)/
The facts surrounding the actions of the police that allowed the escape of Juan Silva, former Minister of Transport and Communications investigated together with President Pedro Castillo, should be criminally investigated by the Public Ministry.
This was considered by criminal experts consulted by El Comercio, who warned that it could be the alleged commission of crimes such as omission and cover-up. These could involve both the agents in charge of video surveillance of the fugitive former minister and his superiors, the minister and the head of state himself.
A report at the level of the National Prosecutor's Office, which El Comercio reported this Thursday, ratifies that the Directorate against Corruption (Dircocor) of the National Police of Peru did not duly comply with the video surveillance that had been ordered for Juan Silva, which that allowed it to escape and remain as it did not exist. Since then, about five properties have been intervened and he has been included in the reward system for 50 thousand soles, but he has not been stopped yet.
The document was sent by the Supreme Deputy Prosecutor Samuel Rojas, coordinator of the Constitutional Complaints Area of the National Prosecutor's Office, to Pablo Sánchez, head of the Public Ministry. Rojas explains there that he received on May 27 the head of the Investigation Division of Corruption Crimes linked to Organized Crime of Dircocor, Colonel Enrique Huasasquiche, and Commander Vladimir Bellota to talk about video surveillance.
PNP Commander General Luis Vera on Juan Silva
Both PNP officers told him that “they were in a position to assume the execution of the measure” and that the operational part was going to be executed together with the Counterintelligence Division of the Intelligence Directorate (Dirin).
The disposition was issued that day, but since then in all the responses from the police they were informed that they did not have him physically located, but that they did a “digital follow-up” .
According to the prosecutor, this procedure was limiting due to “the inaccuracy of the information on the real location”, since “the level of precision was restricted, as we were told, to a range of eight blocks.” Not receiving a written report on the outcome of the video surveillance, the police were “verbally” required to file a report on June 3.
In the police report that arrived the next day, only real estate verification actions were reported with photos from June 3 and 4, despite the fact that video surveillance was ordered on May 27. From the document, prosecutor Rojas highlighted this mention: “Until the completion of these proceedings, the physical presence of the person under investigation has not been noticed.” This despite the fact that on June 1 Silva gave face-to-face interviews to two national media outlets.
Prosecutor provision of May 27 where video surveillance of Juan Silva is ordered
With all this, the prosecutor considered that there were “ineffective intelligence actions” that complicated a request to search properties of < b>Silva, and on June 4, his preliminary arrest was requested, which was issued that same day. In addition, he indicated that he was not informed about the request made by Juan Silva on June 6 to have his escort removed as a former minister, despite the fact that Dircocor “supposedly was carrying out video surveillance work.”
Two lines of investigation
For former prosecutor César Azabache, it is possible that the prosecution will initiate a criminal investigation in relation to the facts related to the escape of Juan Silva, both for the alleged commission of omission, refusal or delay of functional acts such as for actual cover-up. The responsibility, he said, would go “from the top down” and could go all the way to the minister and the president.
The first crime mentioned punishes the official “who illegally omits, refuses or delays any act of his office”, which “shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than two years and thirty to sixty days' fine”. The second is for those who “remove a person from criminal prosecution or from the execution of a sentence or other measure ordered by the justice”, and has sentences of between three and six years in prison. All this according to the Penal Code.
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In this regard, César Azabache commented that “a case like this is built on the basis of the circulation of the requirements and the reports of the request. It goes from the top down and, in this story, it looks for the points where it should have been done and was not done.”
“The intersection between the request for video surveillance and the withdrawal of the receipt is the first key. A matter of this type, moreover, is one of those that are reported to a minister. And to the president. So, to the trades we must add the agendas of visits and meetings in the Palace”.
According to El Comercio, Minister Dimitri Senmache and the main police officers in charge of executing video surveillance, search and capture of Juan Silva went to the Government Palace on the same days that the former head of Transport and Communications went into hiding. However, the Minister of the Ministry has denied that this had anything to do with the Juan Silva case.
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In dialogue with El Comercio, criminal lawyer Andy Carrión agreed that the two crimes can be investigated mentioned “according to the attribution of chains of responsibility”.
“[The crime of omission] would reach those who directly, received the order, did not comply or delayed compliance with the surveillance of Juan Silva. That would reach those who only had the obligation to monitor itq or those who, having received it and having to process it, delayed sending the document to those who were going to be competent”, he explained.
But investigating only that first crime, maintains the criminalist, would leave out of focus “those who are really responsible for complying with the orders issued by the Attorney General's Office.” In this way, an investigation for cover-up would imply that it could reach “those with the highest responsibility not only in the Ministry of the Interior, but also in the Executive.”
Minister Senmache has not recognized the responsibility of the police in the escape of Juan Silva. (Photo: Congress)/
“I am referring to the same minister. If one compares his statement in Congress and the documentation in the possession of the prosecution differ on the days and on who is responsible for ensuring compliance with these tax orders. This could, from my point of view, constitute an element of cover-up so that Juan Silva is not captured”, he said.
This will depend, he added, on the elements obtained by the prosecution to determine “who would be directly interested in Juan Silva not being able to be video monitored and, therefore, not captured later.” Regarding a possible inclusion of Pedro Castillo in this investigation, he indicated that this “would not necessarily reach the president, but could, based on the attribution of responsibility of a hierarchical superior, also eventually evaluate this possibility.”
As head of state, President Pedro Castillo is the supreme head of the PNP and the Armed Forces. This was taken into account by the National Prosecutor's Office, which is investigating the president and his fugitive former minister as members of an alleged criminal organization entrenched in the Executive.
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In his report, prosecutor Rojas points out that since the coordination with the police began, “it was evident that circumstances could arise that could affect the effectiveness of the acts of investigation and procedural assurance”, taking into account that one of the investigated in the case “functionally he is the supreme chief of the police forces.”
For this reason, he indicated that “it was decided to compartmentalize the information that was provided to the police authority, limiting their access” and giving them specific responsibilities, but these “were not duly fulfilled”.
Former prosecutor Iván Meini told El Comercio that not only could these facts be investigated at the criminal level, but should also be investigated. Like his colleagues, I point to the crimes of omission and concealment.
Statements by the President of the Power Judicial, Elvia Barrios, on the case of former Minister Juan Silva. (Video: Canal N)
Regarding the first, he indicated that this is “obvious” and that it is reinforced by what was reported by this newspaper on Wednesday: that a informant reported to the Police the location of Juan Silvain a building in Carabayllo, but that the agents entered another; after which the same informant reported that he saw a vehicle leave the alleged hiding place with a person inside whom he identified as the fugitive former minister.
“There seems to be a decision not to do what you have to do to find it”, he commented.
Regarding the cover-up, he stressed that there is an aggravating circumstance when the author is an official in charge of the investigation or custody. “Silva was being guarded, in terms of video surveillance, by the Police. To the extent that the breach of that measure has been, that is the hypothesis that is handled, deliberate, there would have been an execution had it not been executed to favor escape, this could lead to an investigation for these two crimes” , opined.
Meini indicated that the investigation by omission could include the Minister of the Interior himself, if it is “established as plausible” that an alleged order not to execute the surveillance measure and favor the escape came from a superior. “That possibility should not be closed. In the hypothesis handled by the Public Ministry, the criminal organization of which former minister Silva is a part would be led by the president, “he recalled.
Pedro Castillo is investigated together with Juan Silva as the alleged leader of a criminal organization (Reference photo: Presidency)
“That the president, who according to the Constitution is in charge of enforcing the laws, maintains as Minister of the Interior a person who cannot explain what has happened and who seeks absurd justifications, is also an indication that has to be valued. It seems that the president is not in favor of ex-minister Juan Silva being captured. Neither he, nor Bruno Pacheco, nor his nephew ”, he asserted.
Who should investigate the case?
Andy Carrión indicated that, if the investigation includes the Minister of the Interior, it would correspond to Pablo Sánchez. The same would apply if it is decided to include President Pedro Castillo. But if it is only limited to police officers and agents, it would correspond to a provincial prosecutor, who, if he were to find evidence that compromises an official with a preliminary hearing, would have to inform the National Prosecutor.
Iván Meini gave the same explanation. However, he added that “it seems reasonable that this investigation be concentrated in a single tax authority so that it can move forward and so that the entire investigation is processed there.” “If that is the case, it should be the National Prosecutor (…) It seems very unlikely that [the alleged omissions] were a decision of the police officers in charge of video surveillance” , he indicated.
Meanwhile, César Azabache pointed out that “it is time to organize a working group that integrates provincial prosecutors with the team of the National Prosecutor's Office. “A single team that can resolve the differences in skills that may arise in this case. Because the facts can reach Castillo. It is enough for that to prove that the Minister of the Interior reported the fact to him and did not react accordingly to the facts and their meaning, ”he considered.