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Editorial: They Deserve Each Other

08/30/2013 - 08h53

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That Brazilian Congressman Natan Donadon, formerly from the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party from Rondonia State (PMDB - RO), was convicted by the Supreme Court, and that the Justice system had sentenced him to more than 13 years in prison and that he was, in fact, already in prison and, finally, that the reason for his arrest has been stealing R$ 8.4 million (US$ 3.56 million) from the public, apparently was not all reason enough, in the House of Representatives' eyes, in order to revoke the politician's mandate.

In fact, considering the deplorable ways of many Brazilian politicians, it would be surprising if the Legislative House had acted differently. The population, deep down, knows this. It is no coincidence that Congress approval rates are traditionally low. According to recent research, 42% consider the role of Congress poor or very poor while only 13% think to be great or good. And these levels are not even the worst in history.

Faced with such low levels of popularity, any trustworthy institution would do anything to improve its image. For Congressmen currently in the House have made clear their disregard to the organization where they belong.

Pedro Ladeira/Folhapress
The issues presented in such case would be minimal, if it was not for the severity of the situation. For example, will Donadon keep a monthly salary of US$ 11,300?
The issues presented in such case would be minimal, if it was not for the severity of the situation. For example, will Donadon keep a monthly salary of US$ 11,300?

Not even after June's protests they felt there was reason enough to conduct in a more ethical manner. The disgusting truth is that, to say this in a direct way, they could not care less for public opinion.

No doubt that along with this generalization goes a dose of injustice. Of the 513 deputies, 233 were in favor of Natan Donadon removal and 131 against it. But 24 more votes were needed to reach the number required by law to remove him.

As it was a secret vote, however, is impossible to know how each congressman acted - except in the case of the 108 congressman who did not vote simply because they were, practically, on the side of Donadon. At the end of the day, everyone there is the same.

The issues presented in such case would be minimal, if it was not for the severity of the situation. For example, will Donadon keep a monthly salary of R$ 26,700 (US$ 11,300)? Will he be able to keep assistants and a functional apartment?

More important, however, is to know how the House of Representatives will proceed with those involved in the Mensalão (corruption scandal) case.
While the secret ballot is still in place, there will always be an open door to the "collaborative spirit". The President of Congress now wants to speed up the process that will remove the impunity veil.

It will be an obvious step forward, but it will not erase the fact that the current legislature, under its own discretion, has allowed a criminal under its payroll. It is revealing, but it is still sad that Congressmen identify with this.

Translated by SIMONE PALMA

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