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Valentine Batres denies faking her presence in Zoom video. Valentine Batres denies faking her presence in Zoom video.

With a photo in front of lens, lawmaker accused of faking presence on Zoom

Congresswoman said she stepped away momentarily due to a technical problem

A Mexico City congresswoman has been accused of skipping out on a virtual session of Congress by placing a photo of herself as background during a Zoom meeting on Friday.

Fellow lawmaker Jorge Gaviño Ambriz, a of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), posted a video of the meeting in which it appears Valentina Batres Guadarrama of the Morena party used Zoom’s background function to simulate her attendance, although the video did not make it clear how long she stepped away from the meeting.

“Deputy @valentinabtg: and I thought that you were paying a lot of attention to my speech when I realized that that attentive look was a photograph,” Gaviño wrote on his Twitter account. The tweet and video have been viewed more than 55,000 times.  

Batres says she was indeed present at the meeting, which requires a digital scan of fingerprints both to sign in and to vote but had to step away for a moment to solicit technical help from relatives. 

“My lack of knowledge of digital tools made me make a mistake. I put up a wallpaper that showed my frozen image. I stopped for a second to request technical help at home,” she said in a statement posted on social media early Tuesday.

“If you can see in the full video you can see that during the session I appear moving and making various gestures and movements,” Batres wrote.

She went on to say that she has been an active participant in Congressional sessions and has presented more than 60 bills. The only times she has ever missed a session were due to health reasons, she said. 

“I had a technical error and I acknowledge my inexperience in handling digital tools, but by no means did I simulate my job,” she concluded.

Zoom gaffes have become common in the era of the coronavirus as more meetings and procedures are held virtually. 

In May, Senator Martha Lucía Mícher appeared topless in a meeting with officials from the Bank of México to discuss coronavirus strategies. “I am not fluent in new technological forms of remote communication, which has sometimes played against me,” she said at the time.

“I am a 66-year-old woman who has breastfed four children, three of whom today are professionals and responsible men, and I am proud that my body has fed them,” she said.

In July, an attorney attending court proceedings via Zoom in a button-down shirt and boxers was caught in flagrante delicto by a judge when he stood up in front of the camera. 

“Counselor, you are not wearing pants [and] you are in court,” admonished the judge.

“I am wearing pants, your honor,” responded the young lawyer, unconvincingly.

“I saw you,” the judge replied.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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