RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The governor of São Paulo, João Doria (PSDB), is quite adamant in defending Sérgio Moro, currently Minister of Justice and Public Security, when he was the judge in charge of the Lava Jato Operation cases in Curitiba.
The minister has been the target of questioning and criticism after The Intercept Brasil published a series of private messages attributed to him and task force prosecutors, in which he guides investigators to change orders in the investigation stages, include evidence and leak allegations.
Regarding the contents of the disclosed material, Doria affirms that he continues to endorse Moro even if the contents prove to be true.
“I have great respect for minister and former judge Sérgio Moro. Moreover, I think that if a mistake has been made — this still needs to be investigated, given that the leaks of these audios are not legal at this point. I believe that, nonetheless, the benefit of what was done by Operation Lava Jato — to save Brazil from corruption and from a lengthy period that damaged millions of Brazilians and robbed public funds — is such that I maintain my respect for Sérgio Moro,” he told BBC News Brasil in London, where he met with investors.
When asked if Moro’s actions would have been worthwhile, should the conversations be genuine, Doria answered: “In my view, yes.”
During the interview, Doria also spoke about his plans for the next presidential election (“it’s time for administration, it’s not a time for election”) and criticized the reelection system in Brazil, by commenting on the prospect proposed by president Jair Bolsonaro for 2022.
“None of the reelected governors and presidents did a better job in their second term than they did in their first term. The reelection institution is legitimate and democratic, but in Brazil, it doesn’t usually work well,” Doria said.
Doria, who left the São Paulo city government after a year and three months in office to run for the state government in 2018, said that a government is often campaigning for reelection even before it reaches the halfway mark.
Regarding the first six months of the Bolsonaro administration, Doria says the relationship with Congress “could have been better. Greater peace within the PSL will help the government live in peace too,” he said.
Despite the dialogue issues between the Executive and the Legislative branches, in Doria’s opinion, an understanding has been reached between those involved and the Social Welfare reform will be passed by the Congress before September.