Criminal lawyers point out that there are sufficient suspicions for the Public Ministry to open an investigation that could implicate President Pedro Castillo.
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Yenifer Paredes, sister-in-law of President Pedro Castillo, surrendered to justice on August 10, one day after the prosecutor's office and the police unsuccessfully searched for her in the presidential residence. (Reference photo taken on July 19, when Paredes attended a tax summons. Credit: Alessandro Currarino/GEC )/
Government Palace reported the loss of information from three security cameras required by the prosecution to determine if Yenifer Paredes, sister-in-law of the President Pedro Castillo, was hidden there on August 9.
According to documents accessed by El Comercio, the images captured by cameras number 26, located on the roof of the Palace, towards Ancash and Carabaya avenues were lost; number 3, at the entrance of the Desamparados Station; and 55, in the Golden Room of the Palace, just when the Special Team of the Prosecutor's Office against the Corruption of Power and the police tried to locate Paredes to comply with a preliminary arrest warrant for 10 days.
The criminal lawyers Luis Lamas Puccio, Carlos Caro Coria and Andy Carrión agreed that there are sufficient suspicions for the Public Ministry to open an investigation into this case. They added that they would be facing various crimes such as obstruction of justice, personal cover-up, real cover-up and destruction of evidence.
The criminal lawyer Andy Carrión highlighted that the disappearance of the recordings are added to other facts that support the initiation of an investigation.
First, on the day of the diligence in the Palace, on August 9, the representatives of the prosecutor's office and the police officers were prevented from quickly entering the presidential residence. That time, they spent more than an hour waiting for authorization to access.
El Comercio revealed that the head of the Military House, José Mariscal Quiroz, < b>received an order from President Castillo not to let the special team from the Public Ministry and the PNP pass.
Representatives of the prosecutor's office and police officers were prevented from entering the presidential residence for more than an hour on August 9. Photo: Hugo Pérez/GEC
Another fact to consider – Carrión pointed out – is that the report on the loss of information from the cameras is signed by Arturo Manuel Mendoza López, who was appointed as security personnel of the Presidential Office.
In addition, before the proceeding in the Palace to arrest Paredes, the police had intelligence information indicating that she had arrived in Lima from Cajamarca on a Latam flight on Friday, August 5, and then entered the Palace.< /p>
In Carrión's opinion, the alleged commission of the crime of personal concealment should be investigated, since the disappearance of the videos would seek to cover up the theft of a person of public persecution.
The criminal lawyer added that the crimes of obstruction of justice and theft, exchange or destruction of evidence could also be established.
"The Supreme Court has held that a simple initial suspicion suffices to open an investigation. And we must analyze the framework in which the disappearance of the videos occurs and take into account additional elements.”
Andy Carrión, criminal lawyer
The penalist Carlos Caro added that it is necessary to do a computer expertise to establish if the recordings were deleted. If proven, “we would have several crimes on the table: the one that sanctions the destruction of information, the obstruction of justice and the real cover-up,” he said.
The expertise would be carried out by specialists from the prosecution itself.
Caro pointed out that the main thing is to determine if there was destruction of information, and based on this, the Public Ministry could begin to collect the statements of those involved.
“If indeed the failure comes from the cameras, in that case we would be facing a case of negligence, because there is a minimum security to maintain in the most important precinct of the Executive Power, such as the Government Palace. This second possibility is quite low. Most likely evidence was destroyed,” he said.
New investigation against the president?
The criminal lawyer Luis Lamas Puccio pointed out that the case would involve President Castillo, who is already facing six tax investigations for various crimes, such as criminal organization and influence peddling.
“In the house of the Government Palace, the one who commands and decides is the president. Given the situation, of course Castillo must have been aware of what happened”,
Luis Lamas Puccio, criminal lawyer
Lamas Puccio added that the head of the Military House, José Mariscal Quiroz, must be held accountable and make the video surveillance systems available to the prosecution.
Meanwhile, Carrión pointed out that the president and the first lady, Lilia Paredes, would be exempt from the crime of personal concealment, but they could be investigated for alleged obstruction of justice.
“The case would imply a new folder against Castillo, but we would have to be cautious because when opening the investigation, the National Prosecutor's Office would have to substantiate the degree of connection with the president. The mere fact that he is in the Palace does not mean that he should be directly investigated”, he said.
Carrión added that he would first merit an investigation “against those who are responsible”, which would be in charge of a provincial prosecutor's office or the Special Team against Corruption of Power.
If in the course of the investigation some degree of connection with the president is found, a report would be sent to the Attorney General's Office so that another file can be opened against the head of state.
Castillo is already facing an investigation for alleged royal cover-up, based on statements by former Interior Minister Mariano González and effective collaborator Bruno Pacheco, former Secretary General of the Presidential Office.
According to González, before being dismissed as minister, the president questioned him for having approved the creation of a special police team that supports the prosecution in the investigations against Juan Silva , former head of the MTC; Fray Vásquez, Castillo's nephew, and others.
Meanwhile, Pacheco assured that his escape was coordinated by Castillo and the undersecretary general of the Presidential Office, Beder Camacho.