Opinion by Michael Royster
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On the eve of the Ides of March, Brazil’s Chief Prosecutor Rodrigo Janot submitted 320 petitions to Brazil’s Supreme Court (STF), or, more precisely, to Reporting Justice Fachin. The petitions are supposedly still secret, but the mainstream media have published lots of numbers and quite a few names.
Of the 320, 211 petitions contain evidence of wrong-doing against persons who do not have the STF as their trial court, because they are no longer federal government officials. The media report that ex-Presidents Lula and Dilma are among the 211.
A further 83 accused are now either ministers in President Temer’s cabinet, or sitting members of parliament. The terms of the remaining 26 petitions remain unknown to the public.
The five (5) cabinet ministers include those who, by all reports, are the closest to Temer himself, the two “go to” guys when he needs something done: Eliseu Padilha, his Chief of Staff, and the recently appointed Secretary General Moreira Franco. It further includes Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes, Science and Technology Minister Gilberto Kassab and Cities Minister Bruno Araújo.
The parliamentarians on the list are headed by the Presidents of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate: Rodrigo Maia and Eunício Oliveira, respectively. Other short-listed PMDB Senadors are Renan Calheiros, Romero Jucá and Edison Lobão. Lest PSDB feel left out, Janot has also accused Senators José Serra and Aécio Nunes, former (losing) Presidential candidates.
In other words, the most important players in Temer’s administration and parliament, those upon whom Temer relies to implant much-needed economic reforms, have ALL officially come under suspicion of corruption.
Regrettably, the names come as a surprise to no one in Brazil. Brazilians have long known that politicians are corrupt, but they have, inexplicably and habitually, voted for politicians they know to be corrupt.
Today’s irony is that Paulo Maluf, formerly Brazil’s best known corrupt politician, has bragged that he wasn’t on either the Mensalão or Lava Jato lists.