This article first appeared in La Tercera on March 18, 2018.
The Director-General of Carabineros, Bruno Villalobos, resigned, and at the same time, the former Prosecutor of the Caval Case, Luis Toledo, resigned. On the same day that President Sebastián Piñera took office, Villalobos and Toledo received signals confirming that their future was compromised and that they should leave the political scene to which they were exposing themselves.
The resignation of both seems late and capricious. They could have materialized their resignations the minute they were analyzed by the previous government. By not doing so, they generated unnecessary political-institutional damage in the last stage of Michelle Bachelet’s government.
I dwell on this type of damage because both situations have in common the tinge of corruption that underlies both actions. The responsibilities of the command regarding the uncovering of the facts of tax fraud and corruption of senior officers of Carabineros was reason enough for the Director-General to be removed from his position -voluntarily or involuntarily- and to give way to a more transparent process of investigation and even proposals for improvements in the financial procedures within the institution.
Toledo could also have done his own thing the minute he was proposed with his consent as Notary Public of San Fernando since it was known that while he was in charge of the case he always avoided formalizing President Bachelet’s son, something that the new Prosecutor in charge of the Caval case, Emiliano Arias, is doing today.
It´s to be hoped that these experiences will serve as an example for the incoming authorities, and that, in case of any corruption scandal, they will know how to step aside and let the institutions do their job. It´s also to be hoped that the government of Sebastián Piñera will make changes to the current legislation and support and promote legal initiatives to increase the penalties for bribery and bribery offenses to generate an institutional change for transparency.
By Susana Sierra