In a complex week for the Government, due to the votes of the constitutional accusations against the former Interior Minister Andrés Chadwick in the Senate and against President Sebastián Piñera himself in the House of Deputies, La Moneda decided to focus on another flank and deploy its anti-abuse agenda, to respond to some of the citizen demands that emerged strongly in this social outburst that began on October 18.
However, the so-called «Agenda Anti Abuse and for a Decent and Fair Treatment», presented on Monday on a national network by the President from the office of his wife Cecilia Morel in La Moneda, only mentioned the great guidelines of the announcements, without giving the detail of the themselves, which should be «lowered» in the coming days by sectoral ministers. But above all there were key omissions, such as that public criminal action has not been included in tax crimes, collusion and electoral crimes, as requested by both the Public Prosecutor’s Office and organizations such as Public Space, Chile Transparent and Fundación Observatory of Tax Expenditure, to overcome one of the serious shortcomings of the current system that leaves only the Internal Revenue Service (SII) or the National Economic Prosecutor’s Office (FNE) the possibility of complaining and opening up the cases.
Other points that were missed is that there were no announcements to put a heavy hand on crime-in-law financing. There was also no developments in the purpose of the parties to the investigations – as in the case of parliamentarians – or specific announcements on the criminal liability of companies.
The pillars of the e-eyed plan
Although during the day everything indicated that there would be no announcement, La Moneda finely decided to rush the tranco, choosing to mark the point before the focus is on constitutional accusations, or other facts that could deflect the focus such as holding International Human Rights Day or the visit to Argentina of the Mandatario for the assumption of President Alberto Fernández, both on Tuesday.
Thus, the agenda presented swiftly by the President envisages two basic pillars: on the one hand, to combat more severely the collusions and abuses in the markets, tax crimes and the use of insider information, with five measures to increase penalties for so-called «neck-and-tie crimes.» Meanwhile, the second pillar of this echinan plan considers better protection of consumer rights, with six specific measures.
Piñera took advantage of the body to further announce that in the coming days it will announce an «Agenda to better protect workers’ rights», which includes the modernization of the Directorate of Labour, the incorporation of digital technology to facilitate relationship between workers, employers and the Directorate of Labour and the promotion of voluntary mediation between workers and employers by the DT, to facilitate agreements and dispute resolutions, among others.
Alongside this, the President reviewed the progress so far during the period of social outburst, and said that work will be done on a «roadmap» in areas such as strengthening respect for human rights «of all people at all times , place and circumstance» and review the rules governing the use of force by our Law Enforcement; towards a new pension system; promote health reform to make it easier for DelEC debtors to regularize their situation by reserving fines and criminal interest to access the benefits of the new credit system, with subsidized interest of 2% and maximum payment of 10% of income.
«I know that these last 7 weeks have caused a lot of pain, anguish and destruction and that millions of Chilean families have faced great difficulties and have had a hard time. But I also know that we all have the hope and will that after these difficult days, a better, fairer and more socially peaceful country emerges,» the Representative said in his speech.
In the area of the anti-abuse agenda for combating collusion and abuse in markets, it is proposed to strengthen the National Economic Prosecutor’s Office, and to increase criminal sanctions with effective prison sentences, for crimes of collusion when property are of the first necessities, such as medicines or food. At this point it should be remembered that in 206, then-President Michelle Bachelet enacted the law establishing jail sentences for collusion.
It is also proposed to increase criminal penalties and fines for tax offences, the use of insider information and the disclosure of false information, to prevent abuses and ensure equal information and opportunities in financial markets.
It also provides for companies selling products to the State to inform the identity of their owners of natural persons to enable greater transparency, detection and combat abuses, conflicts of interest and excessive concentrations in the provision of goods and services to the State.
It also considers the creation of the figure of the anonymous whistleblower, so that any citizen, anonymously or with a protected identity, can report acts of collusion or crimes in the public or private sector.
The first part of this agenda, which envisages «better protection of consumer rights», is about six measures, such as ending the fine letter in the accession contracts, through a Digital Platform in SERNAC, establishing a System Online Consultation so that all citizens can know the insurance they keep in place and cancel unknown or unwanted insurance. In addition, the obligation to tender for insurance that is sold associated with other products will be extended to reduce their cost to users.
In addition, the agenda envisages establishing in a simple and transparent way the terms and conditions of electronic commerce and prohibiting the collection of commissions that do not correspond to effective benefits, and transparent the sale of school texts.
Likewise, consider eliminating unnecessary notary procedures, establishing the operations and formalities that will have to be provided digitally and reducing the collections of the Real Estate Conservators and establishing the Financial Portability a project that in everything case is pending in the Chamber of Deputies.