Early in the week saw three of those members of the Partido Popular accused in the Torrevieja mobile phone scandal give their side of the story in court. The first was former councillor Daniel Plaza, who is accused of using his public funded telephone to call sex workers, allegedly making more than 200 calls to sexual service providers between 2007 and 2012. José Manuel Pizana was accused of having had his mobile phone bill paid until October 2011 despite leaving office in the May of that year. Former advisor Graham Knight is alleged to have clocked up a large, 1,140 euro bill in “roaming” fees whilst using his mobile phone whilst abroad.
Later, two serving councillors and an advisor were in court. Javier Montoro is said to have accumulated a bill of 1,300 euro in calls to his girlfriend, but he almost instantly returned the money and apologised for his actions. Eduardo Gil Rebollo was said to have subscribed to a pay-per-view pornography channels. Advisor Juana López Carmona is said to have called at least 170 late night competition lines.
If found guilty in the courts, those involved face a fine, as well as being banned from holding public office for between 6 months and 3 years, although it is believed that any refunds will be taken into consideration as mitigation when passing sentence.
In Dolores, a similar situation has come to light this week, with the socialist mayor, Joaquín Hernández, accusing the PP councillors of the same thing, using their public funded mobile phones for private use.
On the 10th of July, former Mayor of Orihuela, Mónica Lorente, will give her evidence in defence of accusations that she was involved in the infamous “caso Brugal”, one of the most prominent corruption cases in the history of Spain. Lorente is charged for the alleged crimes of corruption, insider trading, disclosure of secrets, prohibited activities to authorities and fraud, to which she has maintained her innocence throughout.
Despite hoping to “move on” once her evidence clears her, Lorente has said that she will not step in to take charge of the Orihuela PP, as this is the time for current head, Pepa Ferrando, to take the lead.
On Thursday, Ferrando, who is also facing corruption charges, gave a press conference in which she stated that there are now a total of nine Partido Popular councillors from the previous PP administration of Orihuela facing corruption charges. This information was believed to have been released prior to the information becoming public from the courts. José Antonio Aniorte, a former councillor for Orihuela Costa is now added to that list of the six previously known officials facing charges, along with Antonio Rodríguez Barberá and José Manuel Cutillas. Now joining Lorente and Ferrando, along with Manuel Abadía, Antonio Lidón, José Antonio Rodríguez and Ginés Sénchez.
Alberto Fabra, the Partido Popular ruling President of the Valencia region, has come under fire again this week. When he took over office he vowed to wipe out corruption, even stating that no member of his party facing charges could stand for election, yet the evidence suggests that he has not taken action against any senior member of his ranks, and has only taken action against those in junior roles. This came about after three more politicians in Mayoral roles were charged with different offences, but have not come under threat of Fabra´s so called “líneas rojas”.
The deputy for Compromís, Mireia Mollà, issued a statement from the opposition, saying that “the list of defendants in the ranks of the Vega Baja PP increases shamefully, while Alberto Fabra does not exert any pressure in this regard and protects them in public office”.
Mollà continued, “Despite the seriousness of the matter and instead of condemning this, Alberto Fabra and his team are dedicated to presenting Ferrando for mayor, an attitude that shows how false the red line is”. As such, Mollà demands the resignation of all Orihuela councillors accused of alleged corruption “to stop littering the name of the institutions they represent, rather than clinging to public office for personal gain”.
With the Partido Popular losing countless votes in the European election, the call to clean up politics has never been louder, but quite what the outcome of these latest revelations will be remains to be seen, as everybody is considered innocent until proven guilty. However, in the case of former PP mayor of Torrevieja, Pedro Hernández Mateo, even a guilty verdict has little consequence as he still remains free and seemingly above the law, a token for those who think they can “get away with it” being clear.
Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/44186/