The protection order was filed by activist Felipe Ogaz and lawyer Richard Gonzalez on March 7, claiming their constitutional rights had been violated as a leaked audio showed the National Assembly President Elizabeth Cabezas and Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo collude to prevent a corruption probe against President Moreno.
In the conversation, Cabezas is heard pressuring Romo into helping prevent the creation of an investigatory commission to investigate corruption allegations against Moreno in regard to the INA papers accusations. The plaintiffs requested the judge to order the initiation of an investigatory probe of both Moreno and the audio.
“National Assembly President Cabezas and Romo insist their conversation was a private one. But no! They were in the Assembly, working as public servants. All these conversations should be transparent,” Ogaz told teleSUR prior to the hearing.
On March 19, the appeal was accepted by the Judicial Unit for Family, Women, Children, and Adolescents, based in Quito, whose judge, Raquel Herrera, issued a ruling on to process it and by law hold a public hearing on April 1, 2019. During the session, Herrera dismissed the plaintiffs’ main evidence, which was the audio, arguing that she could not prove that the evidence was legitimate.
According to Ogaz, this only shows a "lack of public policy for the fight against corruption", adding that it is all part of a "policy of impunity." As a last resort, they can appeal the decision of the judge as soon as the judicial ruling arrives in writing.
#EleToma La Jueza Raquel Herrera argumentando que una política pública de impunidad debería estar escrita como parte de una regulación y que cosas como las que ocurrieron en la @AsambleaEcuador ocurren "de manera cotidiana" nos niega la Acción de Protección #INAPapers
Judge Raquel Herrera arguing that a public policy of impunity should be written as part of a regulation and that things such as those that occurred in the National Assembly occur "on a daily basis" denies us the Protection Order #INAPapers.
Parallel to his legal process, on March 26, with 74 votes, the National Assembly approved a resolution that requires the Inspection Commission to carry out an analysis of the same publication. As the hearing was taking place in Quito’s Judicial Complex, the Commission convened to start the “analysis” of said allegations.
The first action was to request the appearance of the journalists who published the investigation, as well as the appearance of officials linked to the case. However, lawmaker Maria Jose Carrion, who precedes the Commission and belongs to Moreno’s party, said that when searching for the information, they only found a small summary pertaining to an incorrect date.
"It would be wrong to open a debate on the content of a date that does not correspond to the date on which you have all the information in full," Carrion added. Citizen Revolution ’s lawmaker Ronny Aleaga explained that the site has received cyber attacks to take it down, yet he has downloaded all the information. The Commission has 20 days, starting today, to present a ruling.
Separate to these processes, Ecuador’s Attorney General initiated Saturday a preliminary inquiry into the whole set of accusations, presented by lawmaker Ronny Aleaga. However, Monday a new Attorney General, Diana Salazar, was appointed, raising doubts of the course and future of this process.