The president, center, at yesterday's ceremony to promulgate anti-corruption laws The president, center, at yesterday's ceremony to promulgate anti-corruption laws. milenio/héctor tellez

President signs new anti-corruption laws

And apologizes for the Casa Blanca scandal, admitting he made a mistake

President Enrique Peña Nieto yesterday promulgated the secondary laws of the National Anti-Corruption System, making it a day that “will be remembered as the beginning of a new era for democracy and the rule of law.”

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Peña Nieto said that Mexicans are offended by corruption, which was why his administration set in motion the creation of measures to combat corruption and promote transparency. “I am more than committed to combat corruption, hence the importance of the system,” he said.

The president said his administration will work to eradicate the abuses of those who fail to comply with the law and harm the reputation of millions of public officials who perform honestly and with integrity.

The legislation has been praised and criticized, the latter for failing to include all the measures of a so-called “3-of-3” bill that was created by a citizens’ initiative supported by 600,000 signatures.

During the promulgation ceremony, the president of the Chamber of Deputies and a member of the opposition Democratic Revolution Party, Jesús Zambrano Grijalva, said the system was incomplete because the “3-of-3” bill was not approved in the form it was presented to Congress.

Zambrano offered a positive endorsement of the president for exercising his veto over the 32nd article of the Anti-Corruption System, which would have required all recipients of public funds, including businesses that provide government with services, to make the three-way disclosure of personal assets, tax information and economic interests that gave the “3-of-3” legislation its name.

But at the same time Zambrano lamented that the 29th article — which makes the three-way disclosure discretionary for public officials — wasn’t revised to make it mandatory.

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However, despite the inadequacies Zambrano said he was convinced that the new laws represent “a very important and significant first step in the fight against corruption.”

For his part, Roberto Gil Zuarth, president of the Senate and a member of the National Action Party, said that civil society and legislators together have built a set of anti-corruption laws the likes of which “not even Obama has.”

With regard to the 29th article, Gil said that the modifications made to the original proposal gave the entire set of laws “a legal and ethically correct equilibrium.”

“Legal because we must always remember that public officials are citizens with full enjoyment of their rights, and ethically correct because we must also remember that the state is weakened when a public official’s minimum [constitutional] guarantees are curtailed.”

Eduardo Bohórquez, executive director of Transparencia Mexicana and a representative of the social and academic organizations that promoted the “3-of-3” bill, said the fight against corruption and impunity will continue.

He thanked the more than 600,000 citizens who signed their support for the bill, whose intention was to “transform the regime we live in through the institutions.”

Since corruption and impunity harm the democratic life of the country, Bohórquez made a call to “dismantle the networks of corruption that operate at all levels of the government.”

President Peña Nieto also used the occasion to offer an apology for what became known as the Casa Blanca scandal, in which a contractor that had won important government contracts and was run by a friend of the president built a mansion for him and his family.

Peña Nieto apologized for the incident, the story of which broke in the fall of 2014. “I apologize for the Casa Blanca, I made a mistake. A mistake that affected my family and damaged the institution of the presidency,” he said in a report by VICE News, which also said the president was vague about what exactly he was apologizing for.

“The information revealed about the so-called Casa Blanca triggered a lot of indignation. I felt the irritation of Mexicans in my own skin, and I understand it completely. That’s why I am asking for forgiveness with complete humility.”

Source: Milenio (sp), VICE News (en)

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  • Herradura Plata

    Peña Nieto coming out with this apology is indeed news.
    Next task : come clean on the case of the missing 43 normal school students, and admit his government ´s handling of the case is built around the need to cover up official complicity in a mass murder.

    • Güerito

      The apology is a ploy used with 2017 and 2018 in mind.

      The PRI party is terrified the Mexican people might be starting to hold their elected officials accountable. If that continues, PRI is done as a party. It can’t change over night. The party is rotten to the core. Indeed, many commentators say the “new” post-2012 PRI party is worse than the old pre-2000 PRI party. I tend to agree.

    • Güerito

      Forget about them coming clean with Ayotzinapa. It’s now been a month since 8+ were killed by federal police in Nochixtlán Oaxaca. There’s been no arrests or even a formal report on the killings. As usual, it appears an investigation is not even being undertaken.

  • Güerito

    1. Why did it take him a year and half to apologize?

    2. Why did he appoint the notoriously corrupt Manlio Beltrones to head the PRI party in 2015? Beltrones has since resigned following PRI’s pathetic showing in the June elections, mostly due to the corruption rampant in the party.

    3. Why did he appoint his good friend and PRI hack Virgilio Andrade as a bogus “anti-corruption czar” in early 2015 just as the Casa Blanca scandal was growing? Andrade later cleared EPN on all charges.

    4. Why is Luis Videgaray still in position as the Secretary of the Treasury, when he also obtained a luxury home under favorable terms from the same government contractor? Especially since he, unlike EPN and La Gaviota, has NOT divested himself of the property.

    5. Does this apology now mean all defendants in criminal cases can raise and “EPN defense” clearing them of all charges as long as they apologize for their “errors.” ??

  • Donnie W. Jennings

    I am always amused when the various government agencies brag about the more stringent laws and rugulations they have passed, without having any intention of abiding by those same laws and regulations.

  • cooncats

    I’ll take Peña Nieto seriously when he sends the army in and puts a stop to the anarchy and war against the people being conducted by these “teacher” thugs. They are directly attacking and harming the people and are nothing but common criminals. We have artisan friends visiting from Oaxaca and they tell us that most of the news of the “teacher” criminality is being suppressed by the government. At great sacrifice they are sending their kids to private schools because these “teachers” have ruined the public schools.

  • James Smith

    pena nieto proclaiming the end of corruption is no different that would be the mafia crime bosses in the us proclaiming the end of corruption. a puppet on a string doing the bidding of mafia crime boss and former president, salinas de gortari. the whole idea of any pri official talking about ending crime and corruption in mexico is a laugh.

  • Güerito

    Mexican journalist and Penguin sued in bid to ban sale of bombshell book: Journalist Carmen Aristegui led team that revealed in 2014 that Mexico’s first lady had bought $7m mansion from contractor with links to her husband

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/21/mexico-journalist-penguin-sued-casa-blanca-pena-nieto

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