Suspension, fines and folklore in the presidential pre-campaign

Suspension, fines and folklore in the presidential pre-campaign
Suspension, fines and folklore in the presidential pre-campaign

The prelude to sanction

On May 9, 2022, at 9:14 pm, the former mayor of Medellín, Daniel Quintero public a video on his social network, in which he appears in a van shifting the gear, while saying the words “Change, in first gear.” In those days of hectic presidential campaign, the then president Iván Duque, General Zapateiro and Minister Molano had already made public their sympathy for the candidate of their affections.

With 18 days to go until the 2022-2026 presidential elections, the Attorney General’s Office decided to provisionally suspend for three months the mayors of Medellín, Daniel Quintero, and Ibagué, Andrés Hurtado, as well as a councilor and ombudsman for “alleged and repeated intervention in political activities and controversies.”

The Attorney General’s Office considered that in various statements Mayor Quintero had incurred in political participation, particularly in the aforementioned video.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office considered that it had the power to dismiss, suspend and disqualify public officials, which sparked a legal debate around the background of the failed of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the case of former Bogotá mayor Gustavo Petro.

In this ruling, the court warns that political rights such as disqualification or dismissal of citizens elected by popular vote cannot be violated through administrative sanctions by an entity such as the Attorney General’s Office, because only judges can impose this type of disciplinary sanctions.

Daniel Quintero was already under investigation by the Attorney General’s Office for possible involvement in politics during the legislative elections of March 13. The Attorney General’s Office diligently ordered an investigation to be opened to determine whether the president participated in politics in favor of the Historic Pact, and determined the suspension of the mayor for 3 months.

In order to comply with this provisional suspension, the then Secretary of Health of the Mayor’s Office of Medellin was delegated to replace the mayor during his temporary absence. The appointment was challenged before the Council of State on the grounds that the Secretary of Health of the mayor’s office was not part of the Independents movement.

The Council of State confirmed that Jennifer Andree Uribe Montoya, Secretary of Health, was indeed part of the Independents movement, having been appointed as the mayor in charge of the Special District of Science, Technology and Innovation of Medellín, while the incumbent mayor of Quintero is serving the provisional suspension decreed by the Attorney General’s Office for participation in politics.

However, the government of Iván Duque appointed Juan Camilo Restrepo, an official of his government, as acting mayor. Once the three months were up, Mayor Daniel Quintero returned to his duties, and finally would resign into office before the end of his term.

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