Pérez de Acha: renounced his salary. Pérez de Acha: renounced his salary.

Citizens’ committee set for corruption fight

It intends to begin by identifying 10 emblematic cases of corruption

One more requisite has been met in the implementation of the National Anticorruption System (SNA): the establishment of its Citizen Participation Committee.

And one of its five members, lawyer Luis Manuel Pérez de Acha, announced this week that one of his first actions would be to renounce the salary he was to receive during his four-year term.

In an interview with the newspaper El Universal, Pérez stated his decision was one of personal conviction and because he shares citizens’ unrest over the many perks enjoyed by government officials. “Corruption,” he said, “is not only filling one’s pockets with money, but also using public goods for one’s benefit.”

Pérez has fought for decades against corruption in Mexico through his legal firm.

“As a lawyer, I’ve supported many causes. My specialty is constitutional, administrative and fiscal law, and I’ve practiced pro bono. The only thing that’s happened now is I’ve been moved to a new stage . . . .”

Pérez believes the committee faces a “monumental” challenge because its members must not become “yes men” to the authorities.

To get started the committee plans to identify the 10 most emblematic cases of corruption, cases that could involve state governors or bodies such as Pemex.

“The cases must still be open, and then we will determine what follow-up work is needed, what impact we can have over them, detect and denounce the omissions we find.”

Pérez was part of a group of organizations that sought tax information in 2015 from the federal taxation administration, SAT, regarding First Lady Angélica Rivera’s personal assets declaration.

When that request was denied, the group made a legal filing before the Supreme Court of Justice, which culminated in the revelation of questionable dealings in the purchase of Rivera’s home in Lomas de Chapultepec, dubbed the “Casa Blanca,” or “White House.”

The other members of the committee include:

Jaqueline Peschard Mariscal, who has worked at the Federal Electoral Institute and the access-to-information agency, IFAI (both have since been renamed). She will serve as the committee’s president during its first year.

Mariclaire Acosta Urquidi, director of the media advocacy organization Freedom House Mexico, who has worked as a researcher for CIDE, the Center for Research in Teaching and Economics.

José Octavio López Presa, one of the founders of the non-governmental organization Causa en Común, or Common Cause, and the first president of the Mexican chapter of the anti-corruption organization Transparency International.

Alfonso Hernández Valdez, a political science expert who was also part of IFAI.

All five members presented their declarations of personal assets, financial interests and tax information, or 3de3, before being approved.

Source: El Universal (sp), Noticieros Televisa (sp)

Reader forum

The forum is available to logged-in subscribers only.