Who will abide by the memo?

Beyond showing the lacking skills to write official documents in the Presidency of the Republic, the memorandum released by President  López Obrador , to cancel the Educational Reform of 2013, ignores legal and organic realities of contemporary Mexico. In this regard, it orders the Ministry of the Interior (Segob for its acronym in Spanish) to carry out “the necessary procedures and actions to release teachers and social fighters who are still in prison… (sic)” as soon as possible.

Thus, and it is not the first time he has done so, the President ignores that it is no longer the responsibility of the Executive to decide who remains or leaves prison. As of the implementation of the new criminal justice system, the power to grant liberties or benefits to persons deprived of liberty in prisons was taken away from the Executive. That responsibility belongs now to the Judges of Execution of Sentences.

On the other hand, Prevention and Social Readaptation, a decentralized body that administers the federal prisons, belongs –organically– to the Secretariat of Citizen Security and Protection, not to the Ministry of the Interior; this according to its own reconfiguration of the federal public administration. Until before he took possession, in fact, this body belonged to Segob. So asking Segob for its efforts to free inmates is unfounded.

On the other hand, the President ignores that the government agencies are made up of a ” deep state” . The so-called Deep State is made up of officials who have been part of the public service for years, even for various sexennia, and who are clear about how the government apparatus works and the consequences of applying or ceasing to apply the law.

In this sense, all of us who have worked in the Federal Government have had to deal with the various types of audits performed by the Superior Audit of the Federation (ASF). Audits are based on what the various legal provisions establish that each administrative unit must perform. The powers of each unit are in some legal order, generally called internal regulations, and officials are obliged to fulfill those responsibilities.

When the ASF detects that the officials did not comply with the obligations that they must comply with by law, it sanctions them. Sanctions can range from administrative matters to criminal proceedings. And, as we saw, the Executive no longer determines who goes or does not go to jail, but is the Judiciary. Thus, the President could not do anything if criminal proceedings are initiated against his officials for not complying with the law. I doubt that the officials of this deep state are willing to be sanctioned, or even go to jail, for following the guidelines of a memorandum that has no legal basis.

Ricardo Solano Olivera, MSc.


Columna originalmente publicada en https://laopinion.de/2019/04/23/quien-va-a-acatar-el-memorandum/

Photo by Hédi Benyounes on Unsplash

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