One question that seemingly crossed the minds of all Mexicans watching the presentation at the National Palace of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s new National Anti-Corruption System (SNA) was: Who are you, a president suspect of taking kickbacks, personally accountable to?
The answer is: nobody. The president’s almighty authority is above the law and beyond suspicion. Or at least everyone would think so until Peña Nieto admitted on Monday to making an error in the purchase by his wife Angélica Rivera of a property notoriously known as La Casa Blanca.
It’s highly unusual to hear a request for forgiveness for tainting the presidential figure, which should be spotless in dignity and honesty, with the Casa Blanca affair.
That statement certainly stopped us from continuing questioning the president on the issue as here he was, portraying himself guilty for the sin of his mistake, which was worse still for his misconception that he could have gotten away with it.
But he was also aiming at making his acceptance of guilt a letter of introduction to the SNA, which when fully implemented in the offing should bring many a filthy rich crooked politician to trial for crime and punished for misdeeds.
And Peña Nieto added of the SNA that “now we have to demonstrate its effectiveness. Until we see overwhelming results, the citizenry will see our speeches for what they are, just speeches.”
The truth of the matte,r and in the aftermath of this unusual speech, is that the president’s credibility didn’t gain much ground. Top legislative leaders of course gave the president a wink of the eye, but with a grain of salt.
Chamber of Deputies leader Jesús Zambrano Grijalva of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) stated it thus:
“It is important and significant for him to do this. I just hope his begging for forgiveness is sincere. I’d hope that his may come with actions in which his hand won’t shake to act against acts of corruption.” Somehow, Zambrano hinted that he will not act against corrupt politicians, particularly a set of state governors who have allegedly sacked their state economies but all belong to the president’s political alma mater, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which — in terms of past examples — makes them untouchable.
National Action Party (PAN) deputy, who now leads the PAN block at the Chamber of Deputies, Marko Cortés, says that to ask for forgiveness “is not enough” to end corruption.
“Requesting forgiveness is merely a first step,” Deputy Cortés added. “Now the president must go from words to deeds and allow independent investigations [of corruption cases] to make it perfectly clear if there are conflicts of interest in them. What Mexicans demand now is to know the truth and apply the corresponding “sanctions” to culprits.
Another legislator at the Chamber of Deputies, Clemente Castañeda of the tiny political party Citizens’ Movement (MC) bluntly stated that “to ask for pardon of a past error without assuming the consequences does not make it an exercise in public ethics, but of demagoguery, as public ethics is the group of attitudes and permanent practices based in honesty, congruence and in doing the right thing.”
So Peña Nieto’s statement during his speech claiming “I am sure that in Mexico there will be a before and an after with the National Anti-Corruption System” pushed him back to disbelief among listeners at the National Palace, given the enormous amount of empty promises on previous laws such as the Energy and Education reforms that have failed to deliver.
In words he sounds sincere, but his results have proven differently and the question is, what makes the National Anti-Corruption System applicable since about the only law of government most presidents have shown Mexicans is impunity for all those whose wealth is, as the general accusation goes, “unexplainable.” But everyone knows that they came from taxpayers’ money.
President Peña Nieto still has two years to prove his sincerity with deeds particularly regarding the SNA. Will he dare go after his cronies?
I don’t thinks so!