President Enrique Peña Nieto was literally forced to meet with top business leaders Tuesday, June 22, to discuss the nature of the National Anti-Corruption Law that both Houses of Congress approved last week.
Several leaders of business organizations took to the open sky a week ago to protest against the nature of the law’s clauses at the Angel of Independence monument, a most uncommon sight.
The gathering with the president was organized by the business umbrella organization Business Coordination Council (CCE) and the businessmen told the president face-to-face that they were most unhappy with what Congress came up with and asked him to veto Articles 29 and 32 of the law.
The president is currently pondering his options of vetoing and if the document the legislators approved betrays the will of the people and suits and protects high officials — both elected and appointed — who might be culprits of corruption in the end.
Article 29 directly refers to the “three out of three” bill introduced by 644,000 independent voters which makes it obligatory for public officials to present three documents telling about their current possessions, their vested interests and tax return. It may sound simple, and mandatory in so many other nations, but solons led by the president’s own man in the Senate, Emilio Gamboa, jumbled the “three out of three” citizens’ demand so badly that in the end, there will be no transparency in the status statements presented by officials.
Article 32 is seen by businessmen as more treacherous to the concept of anti-corruption than Article 29.
First of all, it was surreptitiously included at the last minute at the wee hours of Wednesday, June 15. This article is the scorn of businessmen because it makes it “obligatory” for all those who earn a government contract to file the “three out of three” clause, including those that come along with it.
Journalist Carlos Loret deMola couldn’t have described it better. He says that in this bill, if taken as is, it means that if the government buys a Microsoft Word system, filing the “three out of three” would be the entire company personnel, from the guy who does the cleaning “all the way up to Bill Gates.”
In short, this is a law that is impossible to implement, thus it nullifies the Anti-Corruption Law as a whole.
If nullified, why bother with it at all?
What’s painfully obvious is that President Peña Nieto knew beforehand that these two articles were going to be included in this now junk piece of legislation and that his henchman in the Senate, Senator Emilio Gamboa and his cronies from the very corrupt Green Party (PVEM), managed to shove these articles in at the last minutes.
For many observers, the proof of the pudding that the president was aware of these last minutes manipulations is that the bill was approved into law by the lower Chamber of Deputies without debate or questioning.
Where were the left-wing parties that opposed the changes in the “three out of three” proposition? At voting time they all played burro, withheld their vote and did not show up for voting, as votes were cast at around 3 a.m. Wednesday June 15.
Yet the businessmen who proposed the “three out of three” bill were watching and they took to the streets immediately the day after to protest Senator Emilio Gamboa’s mumble jumbles of a legal document, and the “cynical” facetiousness in which the Anti-Corruption Law was approved, serves no purpose other than to protect corrupt politicians and their kickbacks from cronies in the business field.
Even if approved, the Business Coordination Council has taken the ball back to the president’s court and now he has two options:
If he vetoes the law — even partially and particularly Articles 29 and 32 — he will prove to the people he represents that he is committed to fighting corruption, which in his point of view, is a “cultural problem.”
If not, President Peña Nieto, who is the end of the chain of legislative command, will have to respond to all the accusations of corruption under his own Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) that will be thrown at him and his fellow PRI members.
An irate citizenry who feels it has been circumvented by legislative trickery will respond at the polls as its last resort against officially sanctioned corruption.
EDITOR’S NOTE: After this article was written, President Enrique Peña Nieto vetoed the two Anti-Corruption Law articles 29 and 32 and sent the law back to Congress and ordered summoning a new extraordinary period for rewriting and make it fit to what the people are demanding.