The reasons behind the controversial annulment of the election of the comptroller general of Colombia


May 27, 2023 01:15 GMT

The instance objected to the decision that allowed Carlos Hernán Rodríguez Becerra to occupy the position.

The Colombian Council of State declared void the election of Carlos Hernán Rodríguez Becerra as comptroller general for the period 2022-2026, because it found “proven irregularities in the process of his election.”

After this determination, the entity ordered “redo the entire selection process from the call” to designate the new head of the Comptroller’s Office for the remainder of the constitutional period.

The highest judge of the public administration announced the decision, taken by the Fifth Section, in his page Web. The main problem is that the Parliament’s directive would have drawn up three lists with the candidate for head of the Comptroller’s Office, which is considered irregular.

What do the articles say?

The determination is based on the fact that the Legislative Board ignored the provisions of Articles 126 of the Constitution; 21 of Law 5 of 1992, and 6 and 9 of Law 1904 of 2018, which establish the parameters for the election of senior officials.

The aforementioned article of the magna carta stipulates that “except for contests regulated by law, the election of public servants attributed to public corporations must be preceded by a public call regulated by law, in which requirements and procedures are established to guarantee the principles of publicity, transparency, citizen participation, gender equality and criteria of merit for their election”.

On the other hand, Law 5 of 1992 establishes that “the candidates proposed for consideration by the full Congress will be officially presented by the corporations or institutions applying or by the members of Congress.”

Finally, according to Law 1904 of 2018, the comptroller is elected by the full Congress, by absolute majority and from a list of ten postulates, in the first month of its sessions, for a period equal to that of the presidency, that is, from four years.

What are the irregularities?

The Fifth Section of that body determined that the board of directors of Congress “introduced substantial changes to the criteria and values ​​established in the initial call for the election process”.

A third list of eligible candidates was drawn up and the qualification parameters initially set in the call were varied, without any justification,” said the Council of State.

According to the ruling, the alleged modifications were “unjustified” and “the evaluation parameters of the participants varied seriously”, when “the results of the knowledge tests and the evaluation of the resumes were already known”.

“The objectivity and legality of the electoral process was affected. In addition, the immutability of the calls without valid reason was unknown,” it adds.

The Section of the court stated that although Congress presented as support the judicial pronouncements resulting from “of a guardianship action and a popular action”, the conformation of a second list of candidates to choose was established and not a third, as it would have done for the election of Rodríguez.

Additionally, the text says, it was found that the plenary session in which Rodríguez was elected “was not convened with the advance notice established by law.”

The reactions

In his Twitter account, former senator Roy Barreras asserted that the board of directors of Congress – of which he was a part until early May, when the Council of State annulled his election – complied with the rulings of the Court of Cundinamarca and Medellín, which ordered them to make a new list.

“The Council of State does not agree,” Barreras pointed out, after noting that this instance has “the last word” in jurisprudential controversies.

For his part, the president of the House of Representatives, David Racero, who is a member of the Legislative Board, agreed with Barreras in respecting the decision and stated that both tried “correct a process that had been flawed since before“.

According to his argument, two guardianship rulings had been issued before the new directive reached Parliament, which “required redoing the lists.”

As evidence, Racero included an image of the decisions issued by the courts mentioned by Barreras, where the list was requested to be redone.

“The Council of State now rules that the entire process must be carried out again practically from scratch,” he wrote.

On the other hand, Jennifer Pedraza Sandoval – member of the House of Representatives for the Dignity and Commitment party and one of the deputies who demanded the election of the head of the Comptroller – celebrated the decision and tweeted that the highest judge of the public administration gave them the reason to a group of deputies, ratifying that Barreras “tainted the election” so that the president, Gustavo Petro, “could have a pocket controller“.

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