In a hearing with the Special Committee on Impeachment in Senate on Thursday (Apr. 28), Janaína Paschoal, one of the lawyers who signed the impeachment petition now being prosecuted against President Dilma Rousseff, reaffirmed allegations that Rousseff must be held to account because of fiscal maneuvers and corruption cases in which her administration is implicated.
The lawyer asked the senators to consider all the charges against Rousseff rather than the accounting tricks alone. She said the corruption cases related to the Petrobras scandal are part of the allegations, but were not taken into account when the case was heard by the Chamber of Deputies because the Speaker, Eduardo Cunha, accepted only those around Rousseff's government accounting practices.
Moreover, the lawyer argued, the general understanding on impeachment proceedings in Brazil had been that the Chamber of Deputies' role would be to decide if it upheld the charges, suspend the president, and the Senate would try the case. However, after a motion filed by the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB), the Supreme Court decided that the Chamber of Deputies would have the role of merely authorizing the proceedings, whereas the Senate would prosecute and try the case.
Having said that, Janaína urged senators to consider the corruption charges as well. “The Supreme Court ruled that you [Senators] are not bound by the decisions of the Chamber of Deputies.”
She also accused Rousseff of using an investment program run by the National Development Bank (BNDES) targeted at small businesses to compel the bank to make low rate loans to large companies, such as airlines and large soybean farmers. “We're paying [taxes] only to have wealthy people, billionaires make money at our expense. That's our government that claims to be concerned with social policy,” she scoffed.
According to Paschoal, President Rousseff's malice became clear when her government chose not to log credit operations with state banks as an attempt to hide them from auditing authorities. “They covered it up because they knew it was illegal,” she said.
Challenged by senators opposed to impeachment, Paschoal spent much of the time fending off accusations that she had party political affiliations and was a coup-monger. Brandishing a copy of the Constitution, she said that it was her holy book and, overcome with emotion, said “What I really hope is for young Brazilian children to learn that this holy book is worth fighting for.”
She also criticized a proposal advocated by a group of senators to hold new presidential elections, saying it would only serve to choose a president and vice-president to rule for two years left of Rousseff's term, and claimed that unlike impeachment, early elections are not constitutional.
Before Paschoal, Miguel Reale, another of the lawyers responsible for filing the impeachment charges, spoke for about 25 minutes. He said that the actions the president is being charged with were not single events in 2015, but have been taking place continually since 2013.
Translated by Mayra Borges
Fonte: Agência Brasil.