Senator Francisco Huenchumilla (DC) valued the project that seeks to expedite sanctions against mayors in cases where their administrative responsibility for irregularities is accredited, and supported the idea that it is the Comptroller General of the Republic who directly applies the fines to the councilors.
The parliamentarian explained that in the current legislation “the mayor has no boss, no one, absolutely. I have never felt the greatest freedom than when I was mayor, because indeed one does not answer to anyone; not even before the President of the Republic, who could call him and if the mayor does not want to do it, he simply does not do it. Neither the mayor, nor the deputy, nor the senator. The only thing it has, as I say, is the control of the legality of the expenditure, and of the tenders, which are reviewed by the Comptroller’s Office,” he explained.
In that line, the legislator reiterated that “for that reason, a body was sought that could directly sanction the mayors, and that is why the Comptroller’s Office was pointed to as a more independent, more neutral body, which is above good and evil in this matter; and that consequently it would be the only state agency to which the mayor could respond, because if not, he does not answer to anyone.”
“That is why it seems good to me that it is the Comptroller’s Office that directly applies the sanction to the mayor, and that does not threaten at all against the autonomy of the municipality, because autonomy says relationship with management matters rather than with administrative responsibilities,” he explained.
Role of the Regional Electoral Tribunal
In this same sense, the senator expressed apprehension, as proposed in the current project, to request the pronouncement of the TER regarding a sanction proposed by the Comptroller’s Office. “The TER is more made for electoral than political issues; and not for contentious administrative responsibilities, because in Chile what we need are administrative courts,” said the senator.
“And neither are the appeals courts made to hear such dismissals, deeper issues, or issues of administrative responsibility. There we have a lack, with the administrative courts, that we should have them and we do not have them,” he said.
The initiative will continue its processing in the Constitution Commission in successive weeks, and then go to discussion in the Senate Chamber.