Madrid, June 10, 2019. The Parliamentary Group VOX (G.P. VOX) has registered this Monday a Proposition of Law for consideration in the Plenary Session of the Congress. The proposed rule, with titleLaw Proposal for the Comprehensive Protection of Corruption Whistleblowers', aims primarily to protect whistleblowers – people who report within the organization or to an external authority about reprehensible acts obtained in a work context or reveal them to the public – and recognize their contribution to "prevent damage and detect threats or harm for the public interest that, otherwise, could remain hidden ".
Aware that "they often do not dare to reveal the information available to them for fear of reprisals", the G.P. VOX, through its spokesperson, Iván Espinosa de los Monteros, underlines "the urgency and enormous importance of providing effective protection to whistleblowers, in order to safeguard the public interest that they watch over and protect with their sacrifice". It is a "decisive step to put an end to the situation of absolute helplessness in which, at present, the complainants of corruption are found".
"The lack of effective protection of whistleblowers also raises questions about their negative effects on freedom of expression and freedom of the media, enshrined in Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU and in the Spanish Constitution, "states the normative text, which recalls that" the protection of whistleblowers as sources of information for journalists is essential so that investigative journalism can fulfill its surveillance function ". Thus, with the approval of this law, "the complainant, journalists or the media that, in their investigation and public information work, publish information related to possible corrupt practices, will not be prosecuted," he explained at a press conference. secretary general of the GP VOX, Macarena Olona.
Through the enactment of this Law, Spain fully complies with the Directive for the Protection of Whistleblowers of Corruption (known in English as whistleblowers), approved by the European Parliament on April 16, 2019.
Up to 9,000 million losses
In addition to putting "end to that situation of helplessness" of the complainant with the creation of a 'Statute for the protection of whistleblowers' and, going one step beyond that required by the Community Directive, the proposal "aims to incentivize the action of complaint recognizing the complainants a prize for an amount equivalent to 10% of the amount actually recovered from the total amount in which the damage is calculated to the treasury ".
This is to deal with the scourge that is the corruption that, according to a study of 2017 for the European Commission, involves a loss of potential benefits for the lack of protection of whistleblowers between 5,800 and 9,600 million euros annual, only in the field of public procurement throughout the EU.
Among the main objectives of the law, apart from the establishment of this comprehensive protection framework for whistleblowers, is the creation of an 'Independent Authority for the Protection of Whistleblowers' that guarantees the effectiveness of the rights of whistleblowers.
This independent body will be "endowed with its own legal personality and full public and private capacity," and will "act with full organizational and functional independence with respect to Public Administrations in the development of their activity and for the fulfillment of their purposes." Only for organizational purposes will be attached to the Ministry of Justice through the Minister of Justice, "without this ascription affects in any case to their autonomy and functional independence."
Presidency of the Independent Authority
The candidates to occupy the position of this body will be proposed to the Congress of Deputies by national social organizations that already work against fraud and corruption in Spain, as well as by the Parliamentary Groups. In this regard, Macarena Olona has pointed out the judge Mercedes Alaya as a reference for that presidency, "if that were his will".
Once the denunciation has been made within the framework of this new body and this new law, if the actions carried out reveal rational indications of the existence of a possible crime, the Independent Authority "will reasonedly resolve the transfer of the proceedings to the Public Prosecutor, without prejudice of the possibility of the Authority to exercise the private accusation ". In addition, and in the event of such transfer to the Public Prosecutor's Office, the Independent Authority will inform if, in its judgment, "circumstances that may pose a serious danger to the person, freedom or property of the complainant, his or her spouse or is linked by analogous relationship of affectivity, or their ancestors, descendants or brothers ", so that the judicial authority can adopt the appropriate protection measures.
Already within the sanctioning regime, the bill proposes sanctions of 200 to 400,000 euros depending on the severity, as well as the firm declaration of breach of duty.
The text presented this Monday by the G.P. VOX also presents important final provisions that contribute, according to the training, to improving public-political life in Spain, as the spokesperson of the Group, Iván Espinosa de los Monteros, explained.
'Modification of the Law of Criminal Procedure', which entails the repeal of the maximum periods of duration of the instruction of criminal proceedings that the PP introduced in 2015 (6 months susceptible to extend to 18 months for complex cases).
"This measure," says VOX, "was not accompanied by the necessary reinforcement of personal and material resources in the Administration of Justice," favoring, therefore, those investigated for corruption offenses and the automatic filing of criminal cases given their complexity, despite the existence of criminal responsibility and only by the mere passing of the maximum term of the instruction.
'Modification of the Law of pardon', so as to prohibit pardon, total or partial, in the case of crimes of terrorism, illegal financing of political parties, or against the Public Administration, the Administration of Justice, the Treasury Public and Social Security; crimes committed against the Constitution, State institutions and the International Community are also included; those of treason and against peace or independence of the State and those related to National Defense; as well as those of rebellion and sedition, and against public order.
"VOX takes a step forward to prevent the new mockery of our Rule of Law that would mean that those who commit the most serious crimes against our constitutional order do not have to assume any criminal responsibility for the cowardice of the current government that, in exchange for support parliamentary, be able to put Spain on its knees. "
Finally, it proposes the 'modification of the General Penitentiary Organic Law', so that the condemned meet their sentences in Autonomous Communities in which they do not have parliamentary representation political parties that have among their purposes or have publicly endorsed actions contrary to the constitutional order , the unity of Spain and the State Institutions, in the case of inmates sentenced for terrorist offenses, against the Constitution, State institutions, the International Community and / or treason and against peace or independence of the State and related to National Defense, rebellion, sedition and against public order.