The revelations made by Senator Delcídio do Amaral in his plea bargaining statement and the publication of an audio recording by Vejanews magazine in which Education Minister Aloizio Mercadante offered help to the senator have sparked reactions among party leaders in Senate. Amaral is leaving the ruling Workers' Party (PT).
Among the opposition, Senator Ronaldo Caiado, leader of DEM party, charged that Mercadante's actions were similar to those of Amaral himself, who was arrested after offering former Petrobras director Nestor Cerveró money and an escape plan in an attempt to dissuade him from striking a plea bargain deal with the Federal Prosecution Office.
“The [magazine] report showed that Mercadante has offered benefits to prevent Senator Delcídio from demolishing the government with what he knew. I'm no judge, I just want both of them [Mercadante and Amaral] to be treated equally,” Caiado said.
Mercadante admitted that he has contacted Eduardo Marzagão, the closest adviser to Delcídio do Amaral, to offer assistance and advise the senator against striking a whistleblowing deal with the prosecution. But in a news conference, the minister denied breaking the law and maintained that what he did was simply a gesture of solidarity with the senator.
According to Senator Cássio Cunha Lima, leader of main opposition party (PSDB), “all this will only complicate the government's position and precipitate impeachment”. He expects the impeachment committee will be set up this week and begin working in the last week of March.
Cunha Lima described the situation as “shameful”.
“There is no alternative but the minister's resignation. But there's so much vulnerability by now that the price of discredit will have to be paid by retaining Mercadante as minister,” said Cunha Lima.
Humberto Costa, the government's leader in the Senate, contends that Mercadante has clarified all questions in the press conference he gave.
“I had a very positive understanding that he [Mercadante] was not trying to interfere with judicial proceedings. He was making a case which the Senate might or might not embrace, and it became absolutely clear that there have been no offers of money or any un-Republican assistance.” Senator Costa said this has not been positive politics-wise, but he was satisfied with Mercadante's explanations.
The senator concluded by noting that Amaral's allegations were often fraught with unsubstantiated hearsay.
Translated by Mayra Borges
Fonte: Agência Brasil.