At 5 a.m., Rosario Robles had a countenance of tiredness very similar to that of the attendees of her court hearing, which by then had been 9 hours, but she was the only one with her hands intertwined holding her chin. He hoped that Judge Felipe de Jesús Delgadillo Padierna would resolve the Public Prosecutor’s Office’s request to give him pre-trial detention.
Minutes earlier he had first asked for the floor in the entire audience. “I have presented myself here absolutely voluntary. I’ve always stood up. I’ve always lived off my job, in the same house where my daughter was born. My only bank account and credit cards are frozen.”
He went on, in a soft, leisure voice: “I am a woman of peace who has never attacked anyone. I couldn’t evade justice. Here are my daughter, my sisters behind my back.”
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He was trying, at all costs, to convince the judge that he could continue his legal process at large. “I have always fought as a Mexican, as a woman, for due process, for the presumption of innocence. I understand the appetite of the Public Prosecutor’s Office after they have wanted to prosecute several who are abducted from justice.”
Moments earlier, at 4:56 a.m., Judge Delgadillo Padierna had made the decision that Robles’ lawyers tried to avoid during the last 10 hours: “A self-linking order is issued for the improper exercise of public service by the impacts caused by omissions in Sedesol and Sedatu.”
This meant that Robles should continue the judicial process for the alleged omission for not informing his superior, President Enrique Peña Nieto, or halt irregularities in the hiring of universities by the Sedesol and The Sedatu to make supposed services, although these were simulated and the money disappeared, as documented by the journalistic investigation The Master Scam.
But the worst news would come with the prosecutors’ request for the judge to impose pre-trial detention on him as a precautionary measure, even if the stated crime did not threaten him. The prosecutor argued that there was “risk of flight” in this case.
Read: Rosario Robles goes to prison; they start proceedings for The Master Scam
The prosecutor listed “the risks”: according to investigations by the National Center for Planning, Analysis and Information for Combating Crime (CENAPI), Robles processed a driving license with a different address than his supposed residence of the last 24 years at the Coyoacán mayor’s office. That “falsehood” in his home was instrumental in considering a flight risk, as the judge would explain.
Also that in the subpoena of the first hearing and then in a police diligence, it was not located at the home of Coyoacán. Although the defense explained that on the first occasion he was taking a course and on the other vacation in Costa Rica, he did not convince the judge.
Even, prosecutors said, Robles could flee abroad because he had the financial means after having worked for a six-year secretary of state and with a salary over 220 thousand pesos, as it was before the “austerity” of the current federal government, and as demonstrated by his recent trip abroad.
He doesn’t have “roots” in Mexico City either because he’s not even working somewhere. “Because of this media matter, I have not been able to implement projects,” she replied. “This is where your daughter lives, your family, here it is rooted,” the defense said. It wasn’t enough for the judge either.
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Prosecutors considered that her prison would prevent her from destroying or stealing documentation, persuading former associates to “false” evidence or testimony, and would also serve to protect the three officials who have testified against her. “They could be threatened or their lives put at risk.”
“I have not approached the people who have declared. I am here to defend myself, I am a woman of peace, I have never attacked anyone,” she replied.
Robles’ defense in the voice of José Manuel Saucedo appealed to the ruling of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the UN International Covenant on Civil Rights which advocates that pre-trial detention is not a “general rule” and sought to convince the judge to apply another “less lewd” measure, such as the delivery of the passport or an economic guarantee.
Judge Delgadillo took more than 20 minutes to analyze the arguments. Rosario waited seated with her eyes fixed in front of the stand. She spent the entire morning in a chair, facing a grueling 10-hour audience, but her hair and makeup remained flawless. She had put on a blue sack, which barely showed her red cloth around her neck and hid her white dress. At times he took his hands to his face or rubbed them. The air conditioning felt colder and colder.
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The judge gave the prosecution reason. After breaking down each element and exposing its importance, especially with regard to the falsehood of the domicile, he decreed pre-trial detention to María del Rosario Robles Berlanga. “She will be transferred to the women’s prison of Santa Martha Acatitla.” She took the microphone for the second time.
– There is no reason for this precautionary measure. He coughed. Sorry, the air conditioner affects me, he said in a choppy voice.
“This is no longer time for rebuttal,” the judge said.
“There is evidence that I have lived there for 24 years,” Rosario said.
– But it is evidence of the CENAPI (on falsehood), it is intelligence of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, and we must believe that.
The judge imposed two months for the Prosecution’s Office to provide more evidence to prove the crime. As soon as she decreed the closure of the hearing, after 6 a.m., two Federal Police officers approached Rosario to apprehend her and begin her transfer process to the prison, but before that, they allowed her to say goodbye to her daughter Mariana Moguel, to whom she stroked her face to soothe her, for she was about to cry.
The rest of Robles’ family and friends also approached. His astonishment, like that of all the attendants in the room, was undeniable. The lawyers turned around, with their faces hard. This time your client wouldn’t come out with them on the arm through the front door.
The audience: Peña and Meade noted
“I come with the skirts well on,” Rosario Robles declared when arriving at the Juzgado del Reclusorio Sur at 4 p.m. on Monday to continue the hearing that began on August 8.
Behind her came her lawyers with a devil with boxes full of documents. As he posted on his Account of Tuiter, Julio Hernandez, one of his lawyers, had worked over the weekend preparing the defense.
The Prosecutor’s Office had accused Robles of the improper exercise of the civil service because it was omissus to stop the conclusion of agreements between Sedesol and Sedatu with public universities to perform alleged services, which were not performed or simulated and, where ghost companies were used, as documented Political Animal And Mexicans Against Corruption in journalistic investigation The Master Scam.
Find out: Judge will decide if there are more involved in The Master Scam, the process is open: AMLO
The damage to the purse by this scheme was calculated by the prosecution at 5.73 million pesos.
The defence attempted to discredit that the comments made by the Federation’s Higher Audit and trades by warning Robles about the excessive use of agreements with universities and the irregularities resulting from it so that they were not considered as evidence which was ominous.
Anscar Ramírez, one of the lawyers of the exfuncionaria, listed each of the observations of irregularities made by the Audit and argued that these had been reported between one and three years after the management of Robles in The Sedesol and Sedatu, so it did not p prevented alleged irregularities that had already occurred.
The argument was described as “cynical” by the judge hours later.
But one of the most striking elements came at midnight, when Ramírez argued that, contrary to what the FGR accused that Robles had not warned his hierarchical superior about the irregularities, in this case, Enrique Peña Nieto, did , although it did not specify a date.
“It is apparent from the interview with Rosario Robles (made by the defense) that the communication he had with the executive holder was through cabinet meetings, in addition to having informed him of the irregularities through the red line.”
He later added: “The audit’s remarks were communicated to Enrique Peña Nieto on work tours.” He even suggested to the judge that President Peña should be “interviewed” as part of the “exhaustiveness of the investigation.”
The judge responded to this during his argument to link to the trial. He warned that if there was a written report in which he was aware of the irregularities and did not present it at the hearing, then he “is covering it up.” But in any case it was to be vented if President Enrique Peña Nieto was linked or not to the case “because here, in a tacit way he has been involved.”
Among the evidence that the defense offered to show that Rosario Robles did make efforts to stop the irregularities was the reference to the delivery note receiving the ownership of the Sedesol, between Rosario Robles and José Antonio Meade made on August 27 2015, because it was noted that there were reports of irregularities by the Audit that were pending to be resolved.
Therefore, said lawyer Ramírez, it was up to the next holder to continue with the solvents and not robles who was currently running the Sedatu.
The judge called this test “a jewel,” for Annex 21 on pages 630 to 633 reports “irregularities”, therefore, asked the defence to submit a certified copy of the document by 16 August which could mean the evidence to open an investigation against Meade with the same prec epto than Robles.
The defense also prepared as evidence, an office signed by Rosario Robles as holder of the Sedatu, on January 25, 2017 addressed to the then Senior Officer, Emilio Zebadúa, so that the unit would “refrain” from making agreements with government institutions.
However, the Public Prosecutor’s Office convinced the judge that this was not evidence of halting the irregularities, since the outflow of appeals from two units had already been “materialized” since 2014.
Read the full research on The Master Scam here
The defense presented more than thirty pieces of evidence to discredit Rosario Robles knowing of the scheme that led to detours, but did not succeed.
The judge considered that there was evidence to show that she was omissive in caring for the public resources entrusted to her at Sedesol and Sedatu by allowing her subalterns to make agreements with universities to make so-called services and that they were not Met.
It was his same team making the same kind of agreements in the two units, the judge said. So the resources that had been labelled for social and agricultural development were not occupied for that purpose, so that violated article 134 of the Constitution and even with the National Development Plan and liability could be attributed to the exfuncionaria.
That is why, for the first time, a former secretary of state will be in the sanctitue of Santa Martha Acatitla. In October, the Public Prosecutor’s Office will present the evidence to determine his guilt and his lawyers will seek to prove his innocence.
The entire legal process to reach a ruling and determine its liability in The Master Scam is yet to be fought.
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