By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Tensions continued high on Monday over the controversial video which surfaced over the weekend, showing the son of presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro stating that all it would take to shut down the country’s Supreme Court (STF) would be a corporal and a soldier. The presidential candidate has denied any plans to interfere with Brazil’s judicial system.
“What is the STF? It draws its power from the pen, from the hand of a STF judge. If you arrest a STF minister, do you think there will be a popular demonstration in favor of the STF Justices? Millions on the street?” asked 34-year-old Eduardo Bolsonaro, re-elected this year to Congress as a federal representative from São Paulo, during a speech four months ago.
Jair Bolsonaro, currently the front-runner in this year’s presidential elections and most likely to win Sunday’s showdown, criticized the statement before discovering it was made by his son.
“There is no such thing as criticizing and closing down the STF (Supreme Court). If anyone said anything about closing the STF they need to consult a psychiatrist,” said Bolsonaro minutes before being told that his son was the protagonist of the video.
While Bolsonaro supporters stated that it was a foolish and immature thing ‘boys do’, some Supreme Court Justices were severe in criticizing the video made by the younger Bolsonaro.
“It is unbelievable that in Brazil in the 21st century, (with) a Constitution of more than 30 years, we still have to hear so much rubbish coming from the mouth of those who represent the people,” said Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes on Monday in an event in São Paulo.
“You cannot just say that and then say you were joking,” added Moraes, “You cannot joke about democracy and the democratic state of law.”
Supreme Court Chief Justice Jose Antonio Dias Toffoli also criticized the video stating that ‘attacking the judiciary is attacking democracy’. The Chief Justice issued a statement stating that
“The Supreme Court is a centennial and essential institution of the Democratic State of Law. there is no democracy without an independent and autonomous Judiciary,” read the statement.
On Monday, Jair Bolsonaro tried to lower the tension saying that he had already reprimanded his son.
“I’ve already scolded my boy. It was his responsibility. He has already apologized. It happened four months ago. He was asked a senseless question and gave an absurd answer,” said Bolsonaro in a television interview.
The younger Bolsonaro apologized for the video in his social media account, stating that he never implied that he would support the closing of the country’s Supreme Court.