(CNN Spanish) — The president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, completed a year in office amid controversial, and with five investigations against him, four for alleged corruption.
Castillo, who has rejected the accusations and assures that there is a plot against him to remove him from office, defended himself against the accusations in his speech on completing one year of government.
Images outside Parliament during the speech showed protests for and against Castillo, although not massive. Some members of Congress and officials (such as the Ombudsman) did not attend and others they withdrew from the legislative chamber in rejection of the ridicule to the president during the speech. Others, like Rosangella Barbarán, they turned their back on Castillo and shouts of resignation requests were heard from parliamentarians.
Pedro Castillo: “I must admit that we have made mistakes”
Castillo has had four cabinet changes and almost 60 different ministers (seven only from the Interior). In addition, he has faced criticism for the appointment of the president of its Council of Ministers Guido Bellido Ugarte at the beginning of the mandate, his proposal for chemical castration for rapists, the recent state of emergency and order of immobility in the face of protests.
Castillo said she has made mistakes “with some appointments, as well as providing confidence to those who took advantage and made fun of her (sic).”
The Ombudsman, Eliana Revollar, said on CNN that “many” of the appointed ministers have been “questioned for lack of suitability or connection to criminal issues.”
“A country bent by corruption, by shady deals”
Pedro Castillo, whose mandate has been singled out for possible corruption and faces several investigations, said that his government is going to correct “aspects that arouse special concern for citizens in terms of transparency, probity, and public integrity.”
Castillo pointed out at the beginning of the year that the Prosecutor’s Office was part of a plot against him to destabilize his government.
The Prosecutor’s Office investigates Castillo for the alleged crime against the administration of Justice and personal cover-up, this after the dismissal of Mariano González from the Ministry of the Interior after González created a police team to support the Prosecutor’s Office to search for those who are fugitives from the Justice. González accused Castillo of obstructing the work of the authorities.
Castillo told CNN in January that he does not obstruct justice: “He who owes nothing fears nothing,” he said at the time.
Castillo’s lawyers have filed appeals seeking the annulment of the investigations based on the immunity enjoyed by the president.
The opposition in Parliament has promoted two vacancy motions that sought to remove the president in power, but did not obtain the necessary votes.
This week the former secretary of the Government Palace of Peru Bruno Pacheco surrendered to the authorities after being a fugitive for more than 100 days. The former official, who resigned in November 2021, is being investigated by the Prosecutor’s Office for suspicion of being part of a criminal organization, allegedly led by President Pedro Castillo, to illegally award public works tenders. Castillo has denied this tax theory and said he was “satisfied” after answering questions from the institution last month.
“I submit to justice… and not to media justice”
“I have sworn by God and by the country to serve my country. Insults and ridicule will not make me go back, on the contrary, they will strengthen me with faith of conviction,” Castillo said in the speech.
“Even when my family is insulted on a daily basis and the majesty of the Presidency of the Republic is offended, I submit to justice to clarify the crimes that are intended to be imputed to me with respect to due process and not to media justice. My duty It is always telling the truth.”
Castillo is the first acting president to be investigated in the country’s history.
Castillo is being carefully analyzed by the National Prosecutor’s Office around five cases against him, including influence peddling, illegal sponsorship, and others. If he were found guilty in any of these cases, Benji Espinoza, Castillo’s attorney, said the Constitution says the president cannot be investigated except for treason.
In Parliament there is also a constitutional accusation against the president for treason against the country for the statements he gave to CNN in January in reference to a consultation on Bolivia’s claim for access to the sea.
“In this second year I will not turn the other cheek”
Castillo said that in his first year in office “I have received a slap on the cheek from those who did not accept losing legitimately in the presidential elections with the conscious vote of the Peruvian people.”
Pedro Castillo defeated Keiko Fujimori in the second round in 2021.
“In this second year I am not going to turn the other cheek but to extend my hand to work together for the benefit of the people based on the national development objectives.”
According to Castillo, “what we have done in these 12 months has been hidden.”
“From the factual powers and the oligarchy there is an effort to undermine the Government of the people”
Castillo’s first year as president has been marked by attempts by the opposition in Peru’s Congress to remove him from office and calls for his resignation, and according to the consultancy Ipsosthe president had in April a level of disapproval of 76%, with an approval of 19%.
“Insults and teasing will not make me go back, on the contrary, they will strengthen me,” he said in the speech.
Castillo, who “irrevocably” resigned from the Peru Libre party, for which he ran and won the 2021 elections, said that his departure respected the “party and its bases built in the campaign.” In addition, he shared the document that he would have presented before the registry of political organizations of the National Elections Jury.
The president, who in his speech on July 28 listed a series of what he considers his government’s achievements, said that they have not had “a minute of respite” and that “they are going to get tired of looking for evidence, because they are not going to to find” when referring to the investigations against him and criticized the media.
“If the information is presented, there is no minimum or real assessment of the impact of these events, because the media, determined to destabilize the Government, are not interested in spreading the achievements. Only lies and false news about Pedro Castillo are broadcast” .
With information from Germán Padinger and Jimena de la Quintana