After a marathon day of almost 11 hours, and despite the different judicial moves to avoid submitting to the law, the 15th Court of Guarantee of Santiago decreed the precautionary measure of preventive detention against the former mayor of San Ramón Miguel Ángel Aguilera, for representing “a danger to the security of society”.
In the opinion of Minister Mariela Hernández, the crimes committed by the former mayor of San Ramon are not “any crime, they are crimes committed in the exercise of a public function and not a minor position.” Along these lines, he considered that “it is these crimes that make citizens distrust the system. The damage done to the rule of law cannot be quantified. They are clearly corruption crimes.”
He added that “the court considers that the defendant’s freedom does represent a danger to the security of society” independent of no longer exercising his office.”
Aguilera – who became a symbol of corruption and narco-politics – was charged with the crimes of repeated bribery, illicit enrichment and money laundering, which he allegedly committed between 2013 and 2017.
In its presentation, the prosecutor’s office reported the existence of deposits in two accounts of the former communal chief, which were made between 2013 and 2017, totaling more than $263 million. During the formalization, it was learned that Aguilera received at least two million pesos per cash per month in his current account of BancoEstado, adding a total of $84 million in the period from 2013 to 2017 over his remuneration. There were even months in which he received about 10 million pesos.
In this regard, prosecutor Víctor Núñez pointed out that “deposits accumulated an unjustified increase between 2013 and 2017 that total 263 million 863 thousand pesos. In addition to the foregoing, the accused, in his capacity as a public employee, requested and accepted an economic benefit for having omitted his supervisory powers and having carried out acts in violation of the duties of his office in article 63 of Law 18.135, which requires the protection of the State’s assets.”
In his background statement, Prosecutor Nunez maintained that “the obligations he failed to comply with and the omissions incurred by (Aguilera) when signing administrative contracts, mayoral decrees, and his generic duty to maintain probity in the municipality.”
Added to this are the “obvious maneuvers, confirmed by the accused themselves, in that there was a desire to conceal the way in which the money was spent, the way in which the accounts were entered and the way in which they were rotated,” justify the pretrial detention.
At the beginning of the hearing, the former mayor’s defense requested that the hearing not be broadcast and that the court’s incompetence be previously discussed. However, both applications were dismissed.
The former mayor sought to stop its formalization in different ways. At first he went with an injunction before the Constitutional Court (TC). Then, the defendant’s defense presented medical records to justify his absence from the hearing that was scheduled for 5 July, which finally did not materialize and was run for the day on Monday.
None of this worked and, after the parties presented their background, the Court granted the request of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and ordered the pretrial detention of Miguel Aguilera.
It is also worth remembering that the municipal elections in San Ramon had to be repeated after the process of 15 and 16 May was partially annulled by allegations of irregularities that they attributed to the team of the questioned former mayor, with Christian Democrat Gustavo Toro being the winner of those elections.
As a result of this fact, Aguilera appealed to the Second Electoral Tribunal to request that the election process be declared null and void. In this regard, Toro maintained that “the appeal filed by Miguel Aguilera is based on lies, and has no basis in fact and law, because we hope that the court will discard it.”
This action is in addition to the complaint filed by the community leader against councilor DC Gustavo Toro before the Fourth Court of Guarantee, for serious insults with publicity.